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Your digital future: what’s holding your business back?

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André van Schalkwyk Group Practice Manager, Consulting

You’ll transform faster with a stronger people focus

Digital transformation has defined the CIO’s priorities recently. We hear it often, but the disruption of old business models still affects almost every market. While well-known start-ups like AirBnB and Uber face tighter laws, ‘second movers’ battle to claw back market share. Older players also scramble to modernise with new tech while staring down newbies that keep shaking things up.

Why start-ups aren’t more ‘special’

Today’s disruptors focus strongly on customers

Much as we’d like to think that today’s start-ups are great thanks to their tech, it’s not always true. Most businesses today have access to similar resources. Today’s start-ups focus strongly on customers. This means using more agile processes and working methods to serve them better.

People-based factors like working together, team data sharing, and customer responsiveness are as important as products or services. In a digital business, the underlying network which ties IT systems together, support these human factors.

What a solid network can do for you

A strong network is the ‘plumbing’ that holds it all together

Businesses understand the value of a strong network. It’s the ‘plumbing’ that brings it all together, as they adopt virtual work styles and move from old-fashioned IT to agile cloud. But it’s still IT’s task to bring the benefits of the network to life.

The tech needed to build a modern and reliable network is relatively easy to implement. The greater challenge for IT teams is building skills to help the business get the most from its investment.

 

Here’s what your IT team should start doing

Your IT teams working closely with teams across the business should take priority

IT has long been seen as a support function, especially in companies that rely on legacy hardware. As businesses move to cloud and virtual networks, the line between support and customer-facing teams blurs. Companies want IT to be more hands-on in helping them master new tech and serve customers better.

To do this, IT must stop working in silos. Typically, one team would focus on storage only; another on security; another on applications, and yet another on the network. These teams rarely speak with each other, or worse, they report to different business functions. Working together must take priority. A virtual network helps to bring systems and tech together so people can work smarter. But IT must lead by example and collaborate more.

Closing the front/back office gap is crucial

Also making change difficult is the gap between IT and front-end business. IT teams are often tech-savvy and smart, but their tasks have always been to keep the tech running and make new things work. So, they’re often a step removed from the outcomes or challenges that each business function tackles.

A better view of business processes, and how the network supports them, is crucial for today’s IT teams. More strategic, phased tech roll-outs will see IT teams support the network in driving business outcomes, and raising their own profile at the same time.

An example of how we’ve helped

We work with the IT teams of some healthcare institutions to improve patient safety. Falling patients are among the top safety concerns for hospitals. Patient injuries can also lead to legal claims in some countries. To address this, some healthcare institutions asked us to help create a networked system. This allows them to remotely monitor patients and prevent falls by auto-alerting staff before injuries occur.

These outcomes matter to companies moving to digital. The network and tech behind the scenes bring new ideas to life. But without the right match of people, skills, and strategy, these efforts may fail.

Click here to learn how we help IT teams transform their network into a platform for digital business. Also see why IDC named us a leader in their IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Network Consulting Services 2017 Vendor Assessment.