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“Go Digital or Die”

William MorrishIssue:Europe I 2016
Article no.:4
Topic:“Go Digital or Die”
Author:William Morrish
Title:Director of Cloud Services
Organisation:Interoute
PDF size:376KB

About author

William Morrish, Sales and Marketing Director for Interoute Virtual Data Centre

William Morrish is an avid technologist and works as a Global Sales and Marketing Director with over 20 years of business experience, covering high-level technical detail, customer service and sales.
William is responsible for the strategy and execution of the global sales activities for Interoute's global Cloud services division, as well as accountable for the multimillion dollar marketing budget to ensure our messaging reaches the correct target audience.
Our goal is to automate the delivery and integration of connectivity, communications and computing services by creating a massively scalable platform for IaaS globally.

Prior to Interoute Will has worked at a number of cloud and network operators fulfilling a mix of both on-site technical and sales roles.

Article abstract

Being told to go 'all digital or die' is more than a daunting prospect, and it’s often one which is faced with a feeling of apathy due to this legacy. Going digital is not about moving to the cloud or any other technology, its really about a sociological change of how technology sits within the business. When done right, IT changes from being a financial burden, to a team that can affect, create and drive real business change via these new digital technologies and provide ideas that will have both top and bottom line effects. 

Full Article

We are increasingly seeing that success in today’s world of IT comes from 'going digital’. Just ten years ago we didn’t have access to smartphone apps, social media and even email was much more limited. Alongside the new generation of tech-savvy consumers in the market and the proliferation of digital channels, every piece in the puzzle of communications has been impacted and for the better.

Whether this involves changing businesses from the ground up and building fresh approaches to old problems, the use of DevOps, cloud or other technology, the stark reality is that most IT departments now have a range of applications and an established (although sometimes partially unknown) estate in place. The time has come to think differently about the IT organisation but also about how to integrate processes properly to build from the past and into what’s called a 'bimodal’ digital future – where both old and new can seamlessly operate.

The DNA of digital
Being told to go 'all digital or die' is more than a daunting prospect, and it’s often one which is faced with a feeling of apathy due to this legacy. Going digital is not about moving to the cloud or any other technology, its really about a sociological change of how technology sits within the business. When done right, IT changes from being a financial burden, to a team that can affect, create and drive real business change via these new digital technologies and provide ideas that will have both top and bottom line effects.

It’s important to really understand the DNA of today’s digital sphere and how this can transform business processes. There are five key elements to making this move:

- Social: Does this mean having a Twitter or Facebook account for your business? The answer is no, going social from a business perspective means really thinking about the interaction you have with your customers - whether they are internal or external - through to how you as a business can think about changing these terms of interaction and making them more effective.

- Mobile: Importantly this does not necessarily mean having a mobile app or something in the Google or Apple store. This requires thinking about how you interact with both your interal and external customers, the mobilisation of IT using things such as 'bring your own device’/ 'choose your own device’ and others. This again requires thinking about the business services in place and how to leverage better interactions.

- Big data & analytics: These are changing the way we think about customer behaviour, and how we can react to their requirements. They provide a crucial extra layer for understanding user patterns, which enable businesses to look internally at customer behaviour to build profiles and use pattern changes to help determine what they can do to work more relevantly with customers. It’s also about enabling real-time business operations, giving insight into the 'right now’ of your business making you more nimble and effective in the marketplace.

- Consumerisation of IT: With an evermore technically advanced workforce not all of the technology change will come from IT. This is creating exciting opportunities for the development of ideas. For example, where the use of services such as Box and Dropbox may have previously been avoided for corporate practice, this shadow IT has now become mainstream – where if your users need it, they’re able to get it. It raises best practice concerns and it’s one that IT needs to stay one step ahead of. After all the next big idea in IT could well bubble up from somewhere unexpected in the business.

- The Cloud: Going digital is not about putting everything in the cloud. The cloud is an enabler, a toolset that can complement or replace current practices and make it more efficient. This is why going digital is more about a sociological change rather than a technical one, it’s a change in process and approach. This is also where the transformation must be put into context. For example, large platforms cannot simply be ripped out and replaced by the cloud and therefore a pragmatic approach must be taken to properly see the benefits.

Gartner classifies this transformation or revolution from an old to a new model of IT as 'Mode 1’ (old/ITIL) and 'Mode 2’ (new/Digital). The reality is that going digital is not optional - businesses need to change to retain their relevance. It is now crucial to build new ways of delivering services that will enhance business change and promote a bimodal digital future. Those who are not heading in this direction will almost certainly struggle under the challenge of keeping up with competitors to harness market share.

React and adapt
However, it’s too simplistic to think in terms of old (legacy and existing systems) and new (appetite to change). It should be considered against what can be changed to deliver the most benefit to the business. Cloud adoption should not be seen as the essential panacea and indeed some cloud services already under your control may be themselves classed as old and part of the established estate. Cloud should be seen as an enabler of tools and services when and where it is appropriate to use them.

Using Uber as an example, many taxi companies across the world could have seemingly created this hugely successful model which has seen an incredible amount of growth in a short space of time. The differentiator here, however, is that Uber also took on a large amount of risk to get there. Imagine the reaction from employees to the head of the local taxi firm saying “I have had a thought, how about we ditch all of the cars and turn this into an app!” Many businesses wouldn’t be able to start again entirely from the ground up as this is often perhaps a little more risk than most shareholders would be willing to bear. Therefore businesses must begin thinking in this way and asking: is there an Uber to your business and how you can change it? Businesses need to build a plan that will enable new services and models to exist and build in this new mode, while also updating and integrating with existing estates.

The key piece to any technical transformation of business is integration and control. Businesses must establish a bimodal model of IT, an all-encompassing base strategy of consolidation, renewal and integration of old and new. This focus is critical to allow businesses to consolidate, migrate and build for the future by integrating what they have got, with what they want, and what they do not yet know, on one globally integrated IT structure.

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