Reactive vs Proactive: How to Build Competitive Advantage in the New Digital Era

BrandPost By Chris Kibler
Jul 12, 2021
Cloud ComputingIT Leadership

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Credit: VMware

Digital agility is a top priority for many enterprises, but some are more successful than others. In this new era of enterprise innovation, those who have already started their digital transformation are able to capture the market share of slower-moving competitors and position themselves at the front of the pack. Now more than ever, we’re seeing a growing divide between innovators and idlers.

Through the challenges of 2020, businesses experienced a seven-year leap forward in digitization. Enterprises in nearly every industry were faced with an increased demand for digital services, including:

  • A shift from the office to a work-from-home environment, in some cases overnight

  • A surge in digital traffic and demands on storage compute power, which has remained elevated ever since

  • An increased number of cyberattacks reported to the FBI, jumping to as many as 4,000 a day

  • A shift in customer expectations, with three in four CIOs reporting higher demand for new digital products and services

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 With many organizations now moving at an accelerated rate, we’re entering an era of divergent digitization between those who only made the necessary changes to survive, and those using this opportunity to drive their digital transformation even further.

Depending on their approach, enterprises can be seen as either reactive or proactive. Some emerging priorities that proactive enterprises are choosing include:

  • Continuing to build scalable capacity in response to future volatility and digital volume expected to double by 2022

  • Enabling a remote workforce to support for the 60% of employees wanting ongoing flexibility

  • Responding to newly emerging customer needs with 63% of top-performing CIOs reporting an increase in funding for digital innovation

  • Hardening defense for an anticipated rise in attacks with 61% of CIOs increasing investment in cyber/information security

This is a make-or-break moment for enterprises, with those that have proactively scaled tech adoption and innovation now experiencing 5x faster revenue growth, up from 2x faster in 2018. The changes made today will not only make sure you’re in the best position for the short term, but long into the future.

Digital transformation challenges for enterprise

However, these necessary changes come with enterprise-specific obstacles. Digital agility is difficult to achieve when enterprises face things like:

  • Slow development cycles that can’t keep up with increasing demand
  • Existing investments in legacy applications and infrastructure
  • Shadow IT and inconsistent platform adoption across locations and different lines of business
  • Business-critical apps that are locked on-premises, requiring downtime and rearchitecting to move to the cloud 
  • Complex and varied vendor relationships that can be difficult to manage
  • Growing security risks, with extensive compliance and regulatory requirements

Simply put, digital agility cannot be achieved on fragmented infrastructure or continuing to support on-premises legacy apps with development cycles that are slower than your competition.

VMware and Microsoft have come together to accelerate digital innovation

Two of the most trusted names in enterprise have come together to build a secure foundation for digital transformation that overcomes the challenges of this new era. With VMware’s virtualization platform used for 85 million workloads and Microsoft’s scalable public cloud used by 95% of Fortune 500 companies, you can migrate to the optimal cloud environment and access enterprise-grade innovation through a powerful solution portfolio.

The joint solutions enable you to develop and modernize apps faster than ever with a 78% increase in operational efficiency, and enable an anywhere workforce with 71% faster download times.

You can also reduce vendor costs with an average of 25% lower cloud spend per month using a powerful solution portfolio that integrates with existing investments. All while simplifying management with a unified view of your operations

How DICK’S Sporting Goods modernized apps to stay in the game during lockdown

A great example of an enterprise adapting to this time of transition is DICK’S. Like many organizations, the sporting goods company had to move to a 100% e-commerce model, while also dealing with a huge spike in demand for fitness equipment at home. 

DICK’S is now running its e-commerce platform on the VMware Tanzu Application Service built on Microsoft Azure, which allowed them to immediately scale to meet online demand. They also launched a curbside pickup application, which went from idea to reality in just a few days – all with zero downtime.

The team continued to iterate on the application based on customer feedback and the needs of the business. “Once we got the app out to our customers and teammates, the speed with which we were able to take feedback from them and build those feature requests into the app that you see now, one that is far more mature, is a testament to VMware Tanzu and cloud-native development in general,” said JP White, Senior Director of Customer Technology Engineering at DICK’S.

Take a proactive path forward

As we enter this new digital era, it’s only those enterprises who drive innovation proactively that will gain competitive advantage. And those slow-moving organizations left reacting to market changes are at risk of losing business to their agile competitors.

If you’re ready to learn more about the VMware and Microsoft alliance, you can explore how some companies are fast-forwarding innovation despite global business challenges. Or, find more details on the partnership that’s unlocking a secure foundation for digital transformation.