Have you ever noticed that in every single movie depicting a dystopian future it’s raining, and every single umbrella is transparent?
Why transparent? It’s already a rough, overcrowded, and an apparently extremely wet world, why would they want to suffer the additional misery of watching each rain drop “almost” fall on their head? It’s a mystery. Maybe its to avoid the surprise of some unfrozen action hero from the 20th century fighting the authoritarian elite with his quick wit and entertaining athleticism jumping from rooftop to rooftop and eventually falling into the local fruit stand oddly placed in the middle of the street.
Yeah, I guess so. Apparently, it will happen so frequently that the society , likely by some sort of multi-faction uprising, be a decree that requires all citizens to purchase and use clear rain gear. And the powerful umbrella manufacturing industrialists converge into a single, government run mass producer of mandatory plastic-based wetness protection devices. It will be a whole new world!
Preparing for a dystopian future can’t all be weather-related however. In real time, in today’s market, the biggest impact on our future are the Digital Disrupters, those web-based Internet-born marketplaces that are providing the same services as large mainstay hundred-year organizations at a fraction of the growth cost. Imagine a world where communities of individuals can sell their own home-crafted products in an online marketplace avoiding big box retailer overhead; or a world-wide collection of homeowners in local towns putting up their own place for rent to individual vacationers without the mass branding and infrastructure of hoteling giants. You might say to yourself: “That won’t happen; brand matters more than experience”. But we have already figured out brand does not supersede demand and customer control.
These digital disrupters are severely impacting organic growth of bulwark corporations and they in turn, are implementing new corporate initiatives under the banner of Digital Transformation. These new business strategies tend to fall into three basic categories:
- Operational Efficiency: Refocusing on operational and logistical aspects of delivering services based on what is *most* important to the customer; and outsource/partner/down level everything else. Make more efficient what customers perceive as being the most valuable to them
- Customer Experience: Changing how you deliver a service to market by matching “how you sell your product/service” to “how your customers want to buy” with specific attention to customer segments that have preferred the disrupters over your business
- New business models: Diversifying the economic models to include all forms of commercial relationships. It’s not just a cash for product business anymore. You need to play in the peer to peer marketplaces.
For those of us in Information Technology, our role as INNOVATOR plays a significant part of the Digital Transformation agenda. In many ways IT *also* needs to refocus on how the customer perceives value, and the expectation of delivering “new and better…faster and easier”.
More specifically, we need to innovate within IT to be able to provide innovation to the business. That means re-considering how we approach solving problems to reach the Utopia of the future:
- Requirement to upskill, reskill and replace talent: Augmenting our core expertise with ecosystems of talent across partners and academic institutions
- Experimentation as a practice and discipline: Knowing trends in technology requires practical experience to implement and contrast using new tools and techniques for the SOLE PURPOSE of learning
- Shift from Operations to Engineering: What’s more important to the business is time-to-market, and new service availability compared to infrastructure uptime. All your time spent on operating technology is wasted if MORE of your time isn’t creating new services
- Determination that Data creates Insight Not Applications: IT is *mostly* application centric both delivering new features and functions of software, or operating highly available, secure and performing infrastructure for applications. However, data is the intellectual property that must be protected, and the source used by your algorithms to derive operational and business insight. Data is the asset of IT and will outlive any application that created it, or infrastructure that stores and processes it.
And how can we be that innovative? We need to provide an ecosystem of platforms for technology, talent and information. In simple terms: we can’t go it alone.
That’s not to say we don’t have talented people or have invested in significant technology or mastered our mature processes. We do. It means that it takes a village to solve complex problems that we have yet to solve on our own. In fact, it may also mean looking across industries, and across geographies on how global practices and solutions have solved like-problems.
Ecosystems provide a means to engage in a broader community with distinct capabilities that you might not be able to attract or obtain, and with the resources to co-develop solutions. If we reconsider the IT challenges with an ecosystem approach, we can see how partnerships positively affect the outcome:
- Requirement to upskill, reskill and replace talent: An ecosystem of talent not only sources expertise unavailable to you, it can also help assess the currently held internal skillsets in new technology trends
- Experimentation as a practice and discipline: Co-creation with an ecosystem of partnerships allows you to build solutions faster to match time to market demands. Joint development also means joint or shared risk of its success
- Shift from Operations to Engineering: A partnership that delivers on the SLA requirements of IT operations will shift your attention entirely to engineering new opportunities
- Determination that Data creates Insight Not Applications: Since data is central to providing business insight, partnerships can provide the understanding of machines, and the academic and practical sciences to discover and derive customer, product and communication experiences.
A solid example of ecosystems of partnerships of technology, talent and information is our strong global partnership with Cognizant: https://www.cognizant.com/
Together, we partner with you on your Digital Transformation innovation:
- Requirement to upskill, reskill and replace talent: The partnership delivers on the expertise required to manage, operate, migrate and expand your infrastructure requirements. No new people needed. No new skills needed.
- Experimentation as a practice and discipline: The As-a-Service model allows for spin up and down environments as to co-innovate on new opportunities. Experiment, succeed or fail fast. Only pay for what you need.
- Shift from Operations to Engineering: The partnership delivers on the service level agreements and maintains the complex regulatory and security controls. Refocus your attention on the Line of Business, or better yet directly with the client.
- Determination that Data creates Insight Not Applications: The service offering implements a new Data Strategy delivering on the capabilities of data management, data governance, data mobility and data analytics. Business insights not storage. A data strategy elevates the value of data, from being the side effect of an application, to the true business insight creator.
That sounds like more of a Utopia to me. No rain, no umbrellas.