Go Digital or Die? How to Build a Bimodal Digital Future

    We are increasingly seeing that success in today’s IT world comes from “going digital.” Just 10 years ago, we didn’t have access to smartphone apps or social media, and even email was much more limited. Alongside a new generation of tech-savvy consumers and the proliferation of digital channels, every piece in the puzzle of communications has been impacted — and for the better.

    Whether this involves changing businesses from the ground up and building fresh approaches to old problems, the use of DevOps, cloud or other technology, the stark reality is that most IT departments now have a range of applications and an established — although sometimes partially unknown — estate in place. The time has come to think differently about the IT organization and how to integrate processes properly to build a “bimodal” digital future — where both old and new can seamlessly operate.

    Being told to go “all digital or die” is more than a daunting prospect and is often faced with a feeling of apathy. Going digital is not about moving to the cloud or any other specific technology — it’s really about a sociological change of how technology sits within the business. When done right, IT changes from being a financial burden to a team that can affect, create and drive real business change via new digital technologies, while providing ideas that will have both top- and bottom-line effects.

    In this slideshow, William Morrish, director of cloud services at Interoute, discusses the key elements to the DNA of today’s digital sphere, which IT leaders need to know if they want to transform business processes.

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    Leading the Digital Transformation

    Click through for key elements to the DNA of today’s digital sphere, as identified by William Morrish, director of cloud services at Interoute.

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    Socialize and engage with customers.

    Does this mean having a Twitter or Facebook account for your business? The answer is no. Going social from a business perspective means really thinking about the interaction you have with your customers – whether they are internal or external – to how you as a business can change these terms of interaction and making them more effective.

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    Mobilize IT and leverage better interactions.

    This does not necessarily mean having a mobile app in the Google or Apple store. This requires thinking about how you interact with both your internal and external customers, the mobilization of IT using things such as “bring your own device”/”choose your own device” and others. This again requires thinking about the business services in place and how to leverage better interactions.

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    Big Data Analytics

    Utilize your data and analytics to be more agile.

    Big Data analytics are changing the way we think about customer behavior and how we react to their requirements. They provide a crucial extra layer for understanding user patterns, which enables businesses to look internally at customer behavior and build profiles and use patterns to help determine what they can do to work more relevantly with customers. It’s also about enabling real-time business operations, giving insight into the “right now” of your business, making you more nimble and effective in the marketplace.

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    Consumerization of IT

    Foster creative thinking to help IT stay one step ahead.

    With an ever-more technically advanced workforce, not all technology change will come from IT. For example, where the use of services such as Box and Dropbox may have been previously avoided by organizations, shadow IT has pulled these services into the business mainstream. The cloud has created an environment where, if the users need a service, they’ll find a way to get it. This phenomenon raises best practice concerns and requires that IT stay one step ahead, but it also offers an opportunity for discovering the next big idea in IT.

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    The Cloud

    Focus on sociological changes to transform digitally.

    Going digital is not about putting everything in the cloud. The cloud is an enabler — a toolset that can complement or replace current practices and make it more efficient. That is why going digital is more about a sociological change rather than a technical one — it’s a change in process and approach. This is also where the transformation must be put into context. For example, large platforms cannot simply be ripped out and replaced by the cloud. Therefore, a pragmatic approach must be taken to properly see the benefits.

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    React and Adapt

    Use integration and control to achieve technical transformation.

    Going digital should be considered against what can be changed to deliver the most benefit to the business. Cloud adoption should not be seen as the essential panacea — and indeed some cloud services already under your control may be themselves classified as old and part of the established estate. The cloud should be seen as an enabler of tools and services when and where it is appropriate to use them. Businesses need to build a plan that will enable new services and models to exist and build in this new mode, while also updating and integrating with existing estates.

    The key piece to any technical transformation of business is integration and control. Businesses must establish a bimodal model of IT, an all-encompassing base strategy of consolidation, renewal and integration of old and new. This focus is critical to allow businesses to consolidate, migrate and build for the future by integrating what they have, with what they want and what they do not yet know, on one globally integrated IT structure.

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