Written by D. Gowen
The Technological Revolutions
Alaska Air’s CIO, Varesh Sita, was quoted, “Alaska views itself as a tech company with wings.” Why did Ron van Kemenade, CIO of ING Bank state, “IT has become the beating heart of the bank?” An executive leader, Heather Mickman, at Target said, “we are a technology company.” Wait, I am confused – aren’t these companies in the industries of airline, banking, and retail respectively? Of course, but strategically each company understands they are in the technology business as well.
According to renowned British-Venezuelan scholar and specialist on technology and socio-economic development, Carlota Perez, we at the turning point (middle) of the 5th technological revolution. She states the world is currently reshaping its future with new directions in innovation and potential leaps in productivity for every sector including raw materials, every industry, every activity in our lives and in business. This slide is from her speech at a 2018 Summit, which outlines the 5 technological revolutions over the past 240 years:
Aside from the history lesson and current events, just look around for obvious proof. We have computer chips in our cars, the IoT (Internet of Things), smart homes, an app for everything and babies growing up with tablets and mobile phones. We live in an always connected 24/7/365 remote anytime anywhere world. Thus, the effects on business are just as extreme.
The Modern Business Model
Through digital transformation, today’s business runs on IT. This is enabling your business to move faster, more efficiently and yet with stability. You can offer new products and services otherwise not possible, operate in new and innovative ways, reach new markets, and serve your customers better.
With digital transformation business has outgrown bureaucratic and authoritative organizational structures. Newer collaborative models, self-forming and autonomous teams have emerged. Partnerships and sourcing models have evolved. Collective focus on appropriate strategic plans for your business to be competitive, drive the revenue stream, maintain organizational integrity and be a recognized leader in your industry are essential. IT is no longer a back-office cost center or an afterthought as it was decades ago.
Today IT drives your revenue stream and runs your company. As a business leader are you onboard and already thinking this way? If not, your competition is!
The IT Business Centric Model
Along with technology solutions come many challenges. Multi-faceted IT expertise to guide business with appropriate solutions in an economical and practical manner to achieve objectives is the mandate. The following list provide key areas of consideration:
1 – Cybersecurity
Compliance, protection of data and information, secure connections, virus attacks, malware, ransomware, access, secure business transactions are among the concerns for cybersecurity. As much as the internet has brought us to the modern workplace it comes riddled with risks that must be understood and managed. Strategy for cybersecurity requires the engagement of security experts who keep current with daily evolving threats and solutions.
2 – Cloud Architecture
Every business today has a need for remote access to data, email, and systems. The days of all workers in a company working from its own geographic location(s) and only during standard business hours have long been gone. Although company owned physical servers connected via telecom circuits have traditionally been used, the costs for management, maintenance and risks are extreme under this model. Cloud architecture is modern, scalable, and cost effective. Cloud architecture isn’t technology – it’s a business strategy.
3 – Productivity
Software applications enable users to perform work in improved ways. What solutions are you using and are you leveraging them appropriately? The wrong software or the under utilization of a software product is waste. LEAN principles teach us to always seek to improve the system by eliminating waste. Determine what solutions are a best fit for features, use and budget. Waste can always be translated to money lost. Work smarter not harder with the added benefit of dollars saved should be the strategy.
4 – Business Continuity
Murphy’s law taught us whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Therefore, we need to think about business continuity. What if a disaster should strike? Careful assessment and planning for the unforeseen is essential and could be the very thing that keeps you from losing revenue, losing customers, going out of business, damaging your reputation or maybe even a lawsuit. Include an IT strategic plan for business continuity.
5 – Operations
Daily business in motion is operations. Technologies require care for stability. Maintenance and support of hardware, software, cloud environments, email, data, documents, etc. is essential. Monitoring tools, proactive warnings and notifications will be required. Plus, a support organization with effective skills, tools, and processes to enable quick and effective response and resolution when needed. Insourcing, outsourcing, co-sourcing strategies should be considered to effectively meet all requirements and maximize cost effectiveness.
The Bottom Line
It always comes down to money! Do you have a financial management process for IT? Since the case has been made that your business is an IT business, the proper strategic decisions, planning, and investments are essential for success. Skimping on IT budget is like slamming the door on a customer or prospect. Work with your IT department and/or outside IT professionals to advise and ensure an appropriate level of funding to cover all key areas.
AKAVEIL Technologies has business management experience, process knowledge, and vast technical expertise. Our consulting services staff work directly with your business as a trusted advisor. Our customer success model is Assessment + Strategic Planning + Alignment + Execution = Return on Investment (ROI). Remain competitive and grow your business with AKAVEIL.
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