The digital revolution is disrupting established business models around the world. It is creating new markets and alliances and it is allowing organisations to go from start-up to mass scale operations within a few years.
Empowered customers and the technologies that underpin the digital revolution – mobile; cloud, analytics and social – create enormous opportunities and, inevitably, some challenges for business technology leaders.
We live in a world where Agile methodologies are essential to delivering rapid product launches and rapid time to value that business requires. This means new ways of working within the organisation but also new approaches to partnerships. For Enterprise IT, it means that old-style, monolithic IT procurement and partnership practices are no longer appropriate.
CIOs and business technology leaders are on the hunt for innovative technologies and innovative suppliers.
Enterprises need rapid, tech-driven innovation, particularly in their systems of engagement. But they also need efficiency and stability in their core systems of record and they need to control the ways the two sets of systems interact to ensure compliance and security.
These are not contradictory requirements, but satisfying the need for rapid innovation and ensuring the integrity of the core systems and data requires care.
CEOs and their CIOs, Chief Digital Officers and Chief Marketing Officers are almost invariably excited about the plethora of new technologies and new suppliers that have emerged. However, they sometimes struggle to work out how to engage with them or to see a quick enough path to value from the technologies on offer.
They admire the dynamism and enthusiasm of start-ups and want to bring some of that culture into both their development and operations teams. They also find attractive the way start-ups keep their internal IT and infrastructure costs down through the use of cloud services and the hiring expertise for self-contained, short-term requirements.
However, there are real questions about how far these approaches scale at the enterprise level.
Large enterprises and government departments have tried many ways to bring cutting edge technologies, Agile methodologies and a start-up mindset to their organisation.
Some have tried to promote lab programmes. Others have tried to speed innovation through hack days and incubators. These often point towards clever solutions. Too often though, rather than being the agents of digital transformation, they too end up producing front end apps or proof of concept products that don’t integrate or scale or which fail on security and compliance fundamentals.