Companies are changing; the drive to transform business operations is very real. Progressive firms in every vertical are busy migrating towards new ‘digitisation’ strategies. These moves are brought about by technology that extends far beyond the scope of the ‘simple’ PC.
Of course we are talking about the cloud computing model of service based IT delivery, and the drive towards IT agility through service-defined datacenters.
Rip and replace?
But how do we get there? Is it a rip and replace process where we simply abandon our traditional approach to information technology? Of course the answer is no – a sensible IT transformation strategy takes applications and databases and every part of the network one piece at a time.
Future-aware firms now grasp that evolving IT, which lends itself to creating virtual functionality in physical servers, for example, can improve efficiency many times over.
But it is a question of logical building blocks i.e. we need to identify which elements of application processing and storage form mission critical elements in the total IT function… and then move to start reconfiguring and updating infrastructure to open up new avenues of productivity and new sales opportunities.
As the IDC white paper The Future-Ready Enterprise: Driving Business Results Today While Preparing for the Challenges of Tomorrow points out, the key to being future ready is the flexibility to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. Locking into a proprietary offering or framework limits the organization’s flexibility and increases the risk of choosing a technology dead end.
But this progression towards digitisation may be non-linear and non-sequential. That is to say, complex business systems often take time to unravel and re-architect. Within the existing IT framework in any business we will find a variety of resources all at different levels of mission criticality, maturity, obsolescence and functionality.
The trouble with legacy systems
Intrinsic to the progression underway here will be the modernisation of legacy software systems. On the one hand, some stakeholders will want to cling onto legacy systems for all eternity. They will claim that ‘it’s called legacy, because it still works’ and so on. But leaders committed to future readiness would also be well advised to consider whether legacy systems are still delivering the right business value.
Accenture’s Matthew Taylor says that there are many ways to address past investment, but holding onto legacy systems doesn’t enable an organisation to fully realise the value that new technologies can ultimately bring.
“It’s like saying, ‘I just bought a new horse for my horse and buggy’, when the automobile is just gaining in popularity. Sure, you can still use it, but you will be behind your competitors and may become disrupted,” writes Taylor.
There’s almost a fable in that business lesson i.e. don’t buy a new horse however pretty it looks if your business really needs some other form of transport.
Preparing to ride the path to becoming a future-ready enterprise is tough; just make sure you adopt the right vehicle for the road ahead.
Tags: Future Ready Enterprise