It’s all about digital transformation these days.
The enterprise has taken the Uber lesson to heart: Virtually overnight, an app-centric start-up can under-price and out-perform longstanding business models simply by connecting existing services in new and innovative ways. In Uber’s case, the company leverages cellular networking with services like GPS, social networking and instant messaging to literally remake the entire transportation industry – all without owning a single vehicle or employing a single driver.
Now, the race is on to avoid getting “Ubered,” and the first wave of the ensuing digital transformation of the enterprise is taking place in the vendor and channel providers markets.
The big news this morning is HPE’s announcement that it will spin off its enterprise services unit and merge it with systems integration powerhouse CSC. By the time the deal closes early next year, the combined entity is expected to generate about $26 billion per year helping enterprises of all sizes and across all industries create the kind of service-based business models that will fend off rivals like Uber and hopefully provide more streamlined, friendlier commercial interactions with customers. It is interesting to note that this is pretty much the same rationale the former HP used to justify its $14 billion purchase of the former EDS back in 2008, but it was a different economy then and the power of mobile-based applications to remake entire industries was known to only a few. (Disclosure: I provide content services for HPE.)
At the same time, Microsoft is strengthening ties to long-time partner Citrix to enable digital transformation through services like cloud-based application and desktop virtualization, network delivery and mobile data management. The Azure cloud will provide the backbone for the strategy, natch, and the companies are set on creating stronger integration between the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite and Citrix products like XenMobile and NetScaler. At the same time, Citrix will offer current Windows 10 Enterprise users the ability to manage Azure-hosted images through XenDesktop to quicken app development and deployment, while Office 365 users will be able to take advantage of synergy between services like Skype for Business and the XenApp platform.
Of course, the IT consulting industry is building up its digital transformation creds as well, since few enterprises will be able to manage the process on their own. Infosys recently acquired change management firm Panaya Ltd. to help guide organizations toward more customer-friendly services by upgrading their ERP and quality assurance capabilities. As Executive VP Gaby Koren explains it to SiliconANGLE, the idea is to leverage SaaS-based architectures and a high degree of customization to incorporate change as a core element of the ERP suite. In turn, this should allow organizations to better handle the changing workflows and business processes that arise in a collaborative, service-based environment, as well as guard against rivals who try to break the business model from the outside. And since digital transformation is a journey, not a destination, demand for long-term guidance should be strong.
Digital transformation is also showing up in application development circles as companies like Progress look to craft the tools that will help devise the kinds of services that customers demand. The company’s DigitalFactory suite is intended to put development into the hands of marketers, salespeople and other line-of-business stakeholders while reserving governance and compliance for the enterprise. The kit includes tools for managing and scaling web resources and digital assets, as well as content creation and management, customer engagement analysis and multi product/channel coordination. It also features a mobility module to push apps directly into iOS, Android and Windows Mobile environments.
For vendors and channel providers, digital transformation comes at just the right moment. Traditional data center hardware and software are being commoditized and “cloudified” at a rapid pace, while software-defined infrastructure is pushing data functionality higher up the stack. At the same time, transformation is just vague enough so that no one really knows what it is or how to get there, and yet the specter of “Uberization” continues to push interest to a fever pitch.
And since this is pretty much a soup-to-nuts reimagining of the enterprise and everything it does, there should be plenty of ways for technology developers to help manage the change.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.