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By Patricia Florissi, Ph.D.
Why transformation matters now more than ever
By Patricia Florissi
Over the past century, while the lifespans of people took a big leap forward, the lifespans of companies took a much bigger leap backward. And by “bigger” I mean a fall of more than 50 years. To be more specific, according to a researcher and thought leader affiliated with Yale University, the average lifespan of a company listed on the S&P 500 Index fell from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years in the 2010s.[i]
What’s going on here? We have mergers and acquisitions, however, in many cases, we’re talking about companies that failed to change with the times. Technologies changed, markets changed, new disruptive business models popped up, and well established companies faded away.
If all of this sounds like current events, you’re following my thought process. Today, we are all aware of countless companies that have fallen victim to disruptive business models — from video rental companies and big-box retailers to newspapers and bookstores. In virtually all of these cases, you could boil the problem down to a failure to adapt to change. In today’s digital economy, the new mantra for businesses is “adapt or perish.”
So, if you’re in an established company, how do you adapt? How do you become a digitally driven enterprise that is positioned not just to survive but to flourish in the new economy? How can you join the ranks of the disrupters, instead of the disrupted?
In short, you must transform many, if not all, aspects of your business. The accelerated pace at which technology is advancing and reshaping the world intensifies the speed at which organizations must reimagine their industries. The alternative is to surrender to those that leverage even embryonic technology innovations to change the world, in groundbreaking ways — and no company wants to let that happen.
How do you transform your business? You turn to the secret not-so-secret technology advancements that enable four types of transformation: digital, IT, workforce and security.
Let’s look briefly at each of these types of transformation:
Digital transformation capitalizes on the convergence of disruptive forces like cloud, mobile, social media, big data and data analytics to reinvent the way you interact and engage with your customers, to enable data-driven business processes, and more. It gives you the ability to build new applications that generate rich insights into your business, your industry and your customers. This transformation allows you to make more informed decisions and respond to the market I real-time, by taking quick, decisive action — which is a key to success in this new digital age.
IT transformation is accomplished by using a MAT strategy — modernize your infrastructure to reduce operational costs and overhead, automate your processes for delivering IT services, and transform your infrastructure operations to increase business agility.
Modernize by embracing converged and hyper-converged systems, by using flash instead of disk storage, and by adopting a software-defined approach that decouples the hardware and software layers.
Automate your processes by using management and orchestration tools to digitize sets of manual activities into predictable, simplified procedures that eliminate human errors.
Transform the way you operate your infrastructure by aligning the skills, roles and your organizational structure to deliver agile IT services and by moving toward a flexible hybrid cloud environment.
Workforce transformation positions your organization to embrace the natives of the digital era — the growing numbers of employees who are always on and connected anywhere and anytime. When it comes to accommodating their needs, these digital natives are pushing businesses to the edge. IT organizations need support this changing workforce with a vast set of end-user devices and rapidly evolving applications, while overcome security issues and becoming proficient with cloud-native applications and fast-moving DevOps processes.
Security transformation enhances current security practices with innovative new maneuvers, such as diversifying protection mechanisms by geo-spreading copies of valuable digital assets. Other new practices include leveraging the economies of scale of cloud services for massive analysis of security events and performing advanced security analytics to detect anomalies in behavior.
Wow! That’s all a lot to take on, but the good news is you don’t have to do it all at once or alone. The key is to put a transformation strategy in place and then push forward with the granular steps that put that strategy to work in your business.