With digital technologies (social media, mobile, analytics, and cloud), innovative companies are transforming the way they do business. To remain relevant and competitive in the digital age, your organisation will need to become more responsive, your business users will need to be able to make smarter decisions and act upon them immediately, and your back-office processes will need to become more agile.
Any company – big or small – can lead in using digital technology. More than anything, ‘digital masters’ differ in the clarity of their vision. They see digital as a business transformation opportunity as opposed to a technology challenge. Rather than incrementally adjusting current practices, they search for ways to use today’s fast-moving technologies to transform the way they do business.
Setting up for success
However, to act on that vision, it’s necessary to have the right foundations in place. This means ensuring your IT assets are working for you, rather than against you. If your existing infrastructure isn’t meeting current business requirements and user expectations, then it certainly won’t be able to support digital innovation.
CIOs can assess their IT’s ability to support current and future business needs by answering the following:
- What does each of the business units require from IT and related services to meet their ongoing commitments?
- Are the existing IT investments optimised to provide the required services and delivered in the most cost effective way?
- What does the centralised IT organisation currently perceive as the assumed service level requirements for meeting business unit operation requirements?
Getting digital ready
Understanding the current adequacy of IT to serve the business and its customers will indicate where IT service improvements are needed. To fill the gaps, your IT department will need to adopt a new model that will enable it to provision data, applications, and systems at the speed demanded by a modern digital organisation.
Many forward-thinking IT departments have already started modernising some of the key technologies and processes that will help them become more service-oriented – and subsequently – ‘digital ready’.
There are six critical components of modernisation that enable organisations to provision, control, and secure new IT-based services at an unprecedented rate. These are:
- Modernise data centre platforms to be highly automated, self-service platforms that are seamlessly connected to the cloud. Hybrid IT will deliver the ability to deliver new application development at speed, whilst also facilitating more efficient operation of your current applications.
- Modernise data and information capabilities to create new value and business optimisation from your old data, and enable new efficiencies, products, services and customer experiences to be born out of the new data insights you gain.
- Modernise networks so they can connect more things more securely, and leverage new mobile centric applications and communications tools. This will turn your network into a business-aware platform that enables you to exploit the endless opportunities that the Internet of Things is set to present.
- Modernise security to protect your organisation, applications, infrastructure, data, employees and customers from the threats that will grow in number and severity. Greater security will give your people the capability and the confidence to achieve more through digital technology unconstrained by the disruptive, legislative and reputational risks of a digital-centric world.
- Modernise workspaces and working processes, changing the way people work, where they work and when they work. This means embedding collaboration tools and video into every organisational process. Transforming the way organisations interact internally and externally with suppliers, partners, customers and citizens to improve productivity and reduce real-estate and travel costs.
- Modernise IT operations. IT will become the provider and aggregator of internal services, applications, data, and infrastructure. As well as connecting to an array of digital offerings in the cloud, it will need to interconnect and automate everything it touches: people, processes, security and platforms, to service the needs of the organisation at the speed and scale demanded by the digital world.
As companies compete to serve customers faster and respond more quickly to change, IT needs to be able to deliver secure, instantaneous, and transparent services with technology that grows more complex every day. The key is to take the IT services you already have and optimise them for the modern world – then you’ll be well on your way to becoming digital ready.