Blog

How Enterprises Can Embrace Digital Transformation



CEOs EXPECT TO ADD 80% MORE DIGITAL REVENUE BY 2020. — GARTNER

Back in 1992, as part of a business school course, I once gave a talk about why executives in senior management roles needed to care about understanding technology and how it could provide their companies with strategic advantages. It fell on flat ears because back then, pre-Internet, technology was a cost center, part of the finance organization, always the first to be gutted in times of crisis (with very few exceptions). We were just starting to spell “client-server” correctly.

Today, technology is at the forefront of enabling companies to gain competitive advantages. Sure, you still need to have the right go-to-market strategy, your distribution channels need to be in sync, you still have to differentiate your products or services adequately, you should always be thinking about how to build barriers to entry. But strategic technology adoption, or Digital Transformation, is just as pervasive and necessary in all industries.

There is massive disruption happening across multiple industry verticals. In the entertainment industry, your studio next door is no longer your primary threat, Netflix and Amazon Prime are. In financial exchanges, the rate of innovation by new entrants is forcing incumbents to accelerate product delivery to the market, standing the organizations on their head. In the automotive industry, Tesla has shown that the emperor has no clothes. And in high-tech, the HP’s, Cisco’s, Oracle’s, Dell/EMC’s are in a total panic about Public cloud – every day they worry about when a new “data center evacuation” mandate will be proclaimed by the latest Global Fortune 1000 firm.

I mention the above industries because we have first-hand knowledge of these seismic shifts – we’ve partnered with the incumbents to begin the transformation process and advise them that in order to remain competitive, they must accelerate their rate of digital transformation—the ability to rapidly innovate at scale to create competitive advantage.

Easier said than done. These organizations need a lot of help. First, they need to understand that it’s NOT a technology problem alone – digital transformation encompasses organizational change, process re-alignment and people education as well, the culture needs to change top down. Second, technology is changing so rapidly that they can’t keep up – where was Kubernetes 12 months ago? Third, existing skills are in constant need of upgrade – containerize what? Fourth, legacy technology is monolithic and static – should I refactor, rearchitect, lift and shift, find a new job? Fifth, unforeseen competitive threats are coming from left, right and center – you tell me I compete with Netflix, but I don’t ship DVDs, what’s the big deal?

When I meet with enterprise executives, I often put myself in their shoes and ask myself how should I start embracing digital transformation, what role does technology play in my organization – where do I start and what should I look out for? What should be my priorities?

  • DRIVE AND EMBRACE CHANGE – this is absolutely step one, and it needs to come from the top. You may have many grassroots initiatives in pockets of the organization, but in order to embrace digital transformation, you must define a top-down strategy that everyone buys into, and in some cases shut down some of the rogue initiatives if they do not fit the overall strategy. To reiterate…

  • DON’T JUST FOCUS ON THE TECHNOLOGY – that’s cardinal sin number one, technology for technology’s sake is incompatible with having a business strategy drive technology adoption. And, with changes happening so quickly, it’s best if you…

  • ENGAGE WITH A TRUSTED PARTNER – that’s been there, done that, successfully – no matter how smart your internal teams are, they do not have the years of experience in implementing these advanced solutions, not to mention how they can fit into the existing technology ecosystem in your enterprise. Don’t place a moratorium on innovation and prevent your organization from…

  • EXPANDING YOUR ABILITY TO CONSUME IT AS A SERVICE – you’re already doing it with SaaS platforms, there’s an entire industry ready to cater to how you consume infrastructure as a service in a secure, compliant and reliable manner, so…

  • DON’T FEAR THE PUBLIC CLOUD – AWS, Google Cloud, Azure – they’ve come a long way, they finally “get” the enterprise, they’ve tailored solutions for specific industry needs and are constantly innovating their infrastructure offerings, so why should you. Let the experts focus on this and you…

  • STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR CORE COMPETENCIES – if you’re not in the infrastructure business, then outsource it, but not in the inefficient manner of the late nineties and early two-thousands – look at managed service providers that can help you deploy and manage across multiple endpoints including on-premise legacy (not all of it will go away), virtual private (for those challenging regulated workloads) or public cloud. And finally…

  • FUTURE PROOF YOUR INVESTMENT — monolithic solutions are out, done, gone; stay away from converged infrastructure, that’s another term for lock-in. Look at abstracting your core assets from the underlying infrastructure so that as technology evolves, your solutions embrace the change and are not rendered obsolete in 6 months.


Contact Solinea for More Information



Author: Francesco Paola, CEO, Solinea