Digital Business: It’s Time for a Complete Rethink!

April 21, 2015 | By Matt Graney, VP Product Management, Axway

We recently discussed why embracing digital technologies should be at the top of your business agenda. But we know from our experience working with organizations around the world that becoming a digital business is easier said than done, as it often requires a complete rethink of existing business processes and models. Even though it’s impractical to throw out your legacy applications and systems and start your infrastructure from scratch, you still have to reevaluate your old boundaries and limitations and simply think differently. Digital business is here – and traditional businesses are getting pushed out of the way.

Nowhere is this more true than in the IT department, as to grasp the digital business opportunity, one must aggressively adopt new enablement technologies while leveraging legacy technology that remains embedded in your environment. The changes driven by mobile, social, cloud and data are happening too fast and are too big. And if there was any doubt that these changes are taking place, it just takes one look at the transportation, retail, media, hospitality and many other industries that have been completely reshaped by this perfect storm of digital technologies. A recent TechCrunch article captured the situation perfectly with four sentences that would have sounded completely ludicrous ten years ago:

“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.

At Axway we couldn’t agree more. Something interesting is definitely happening. This “disruption” caused by digital business often means different things to different people, though. Marketers like the term: it signifies that an industry is undergoing a significant change and opens all kinds of opportunities for discussion. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the term “disruption” often makes IT professionals shudder, as traditionally, one of the primary functions of an IT department is to keep all of an organization’s foundational technologies up and running - undisrupted.

While all the ‘ilities’ will always be a crucial element of IT (availability, scalability, flexibility, etc.) – especially in the digital business era that is defined by skyrocketing customer expectations – the rules of the game have changed. Instead of focusing efforts on managing within the enterprise walls with an “iron fist”, IT is now challenged with facilitating, managing and securing interactions with an ever-changing ecosystem of customers, partners and competitors. This presents a daunting situation with huge security, privacy and governance implications.

But what if IT could get ahead of all this change? What if we could shift the focus from controlling an internal environment to delivering business outcomes across an expanding ecosystem? And what if IT could view the rapid introduction of digital technologies with excitement rather than fear?  

In our next post in this series, we will explain why this no longer has to be a case of “what if” and how IT can deliver the adaptive integrations and architectures required to support new digital business models.

TOPICS: Digital Business

Matt Graney

VP Product Management, Axway

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