Shared Risk and Cost Efficiencies, Mobilized Capabilities, Knowledge and Innovation
by Patrick Harnois
In my last article I outlined the first set of common factors just about all organizations believe they need to help them achieve their business goals – performance, governance and security and compliance. Here are the next three.
Shared Risk and Cost Efficiencies
The key objectives of streamlining technology infrastructure are to make it more efficient and cost-effective. Eliminating waste and duplication is obviously good business sense; making sure you're doing so with an eye to enabling future growth is an obvious next step. This is why the cloud is increasingly a foundational element of IT planning. Cloud computing gives enterprises flexible access to large amounts of scalable computing power, with the freedom to adjust capacity up and down to support the natural cycles of their business.
In practice, this means that IT can become more responsive to the pace and dynamic nature of business, with technology truly acting as a strategic business enabler. And of course, with companies choosing cloud solutions from third party vendors like Verizon, the need to constantly invest in technology to keep infrastructure up-to-date is effectively handed off to the third party provider.
For the business, this means that agility and scalability are available on demand, leveraging cloud-based resources. But it also opens up a new approach to business, where business opportunity is essentially expanded out to the third party. What this leads to is an absolute focus on the needs of the enterprise – and the ability of the cloud provider to meet them. When it comes to the cloud, one size definitely doesn't fit all.
Of course, the cloud is not the only option. Selective out-sourcing is another increasingly popular business model, and many organizations are adopting a ‘business ecosystem' approach, calling on proven third party expertise in specialized areas such as security, hosting or network infrastructure management, but with performance indicators firmly embedded in and interlinked with overall business strategy.
In the words of the song, “It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it”. And this is where leveraging technology can be a real competitive differentiator. It's about enabling a truly mobile workforce, embracing the consumerization of technology to enable employees to access information in multiple formats, on multiple devices, from any location, on demand; and leveraging immersive video communications, mobile devices and social networking tools to enhance information share. Mobile device management and content delivery systems will play a crucial role in the workplace of the future. They are also transforming the office intranet into trusted social workspaces which extend beyond the office walls to give their whole stakeholder ecosystems the freedom to innovate and collaborate, and which enable the benefit of fresh thinking to be quickly realized. All of this is disrupting the ‘knowns' of business practice.
It's about tracking customer behavior, and interlinking customer touch points, to bridge the gap between customer value and making your customers feel valued.
It's also about mobilizing applications seamlessly and securely beyond the desktop to smarter, ever more portable devices, using a “thin-client” approach, where applications are stored and delivered from the cloud. It's about enabling agility, improving productivity, and transforming business opportunity.
By looking afresh at their technology investments, organizations can transform how they do business. Technology already has the potential to dramatically, and positively impact business operations.
Knowledge and Innovation
The final piece of the puzzle is innovation and know-how. Innovation can bring significant rewards – and particularly if framed squarely within and in support of business strategy.
So really, this is about harnessing the knowledge already within an organization, and creating an environment where innovation is actively encouraged to drive that business forward. It's often said that an organization's most important assets are its people – but unfortunately, far too few organizations make the most of the intellectual property they have at their disposal.
The Holy Grail for organizations is to create a culture where employees feel as though their ideas are valued, their opinions recognized, and that they have a part to play in creating their business' success. The most critical element here is to drive a top-down business culture – and again, technology can be a key enabler in this process. Social collaboration tools, unified communications and collaboration solutions, information sharing tools, interactive dashboards, all have a role to play in enabling effective dialogue. And from dialogue comes ideas, from ideas come solutions, and with solutions come new business approaches that will move the company from a to b with its own team fully engaged, and without the need to engage external resources. Technology is now firmly embedded within the process, and the end product.
So that's it. Whatever the industry, wherever the location, these are the six factors that business leaders believe will help drive their business. Now all they need is to work out how to start the journey.