Embracing New Technology in the Right way is Imperative to Enterprise Success
A digital wild west… new media age… digital era… Call it what you will. Emergent technologies led by digital are reshaping the world of business and enterprises are having to deal with the consequences of this blurring of lines between the physical and non-physical. They are under tremendous pressure to either embrace technology disrupters such as Cloud, Big Data and Analytics, Social and Mobility (SMAC) to develop new IT capabilities and delivery models. Else, they risk not being able to pursue innovation, raise productivity or grow revenue. And so IT departments have never been more important than today.
The fact is that a majority of CIOs are definitely responding by adopting new SMAC technologies to transform into a digital business. Some early pioneers have been path breaking and have achieved significant success. Just think of some of the top retailers or consumer products firms like Amazon, Home Depot and Philips. However as with any revolution, enterprises face the challenge of trying to figure out what is needed, what to buy, and how to leverage it within and outside their organization. An economically constrained environment only adds to the lack of clarity.
In my role as CTO and CIO at HGS, I have had the opportunity to interact with IT professionals and business leaders across industries. What they tell me is that their primary challenge is related around evaluating technology and implementing it in the right way… meaning how can it generate the right digital advantage? I consider it an interesting statement as I deal with it every day myself.
We adopted to the SMAC journey early in the game, with an intention to be digitally connected to the evolving market and asset-light. Starting with basic Cloud implementation, we advanced to Cloud telephony/ storage and co-development of applications for our business and corporate needs. Our CRM is digitally enabled, making it simpler, convenient and more effective today. We also kept current on the ‘keep the lights on’ operations.
According to me, CIOs must focus on four key elements while evaluating new technologies and establishing an IT roadmap -
•Debate improvement versus growth or bimodal IT imperative: Collaborate with vertical leaders to do a detailed articulation of current IT versus business scenario. Do you want to just focus on the now by improving current processes or invest for future growth as well at the same time? Are you looking to optimize costs or simplifying IT? Remember that a well-collaborated visioning exercise with specific goals and milestones implemented phase wise has a higher chance of success. Also, identify technology and infrastructure to be replaced as part of this exercise, so as to help divest funds for digital initiatives.
•Evaluate various technologies available in the market and key in on the ones which relate to your industry better. This aspect is very critical as what works for a financial services company might not work as well for a healthcare player or a sports goods firm. A point to note is evaluating the impact of these technologies on not just your company but the experience of your end-users as well as we live in a ‘digital mesh’ today as Gartner calls it.
•Stability of the organization, and long-term vision with a product roadmap and capability to support for a longer period of time in such a volatile M&A market is another important criteria while opting for a technology solution or a platform.
•Focus on operating or business models too… Is there any need for change in these to correlate the expected changes in IT? Forging a relationship with business leaders, CFO and CMO is the need of the hour.
At the end of the day, the digital revolution basically requires CIOs to know how to combine traditional IT architectures and business models with evolving technologies. Or finding the right balance between the existing and the new to drive faster and more innovative growth for your enterprise. Simple to state but challenging to plan and execute… but imperative if you want to transform into a digerati!