Delivering the promise of digital

Silicon Valley giants have disrupted traditional markets because of their mastery of data, which helps them understand customers better, cut costs and scale faster.

By contrast, many big pre-internet firms are hindered by legacy IT investments, which stop them from executing as quickly as the more nimble startups. As Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said: “In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.”

Many traditional companies now hope digital transformation can reverse their fortunes and unleash exciting possibilities, but few understand what is required for a full transformation to take place.

Hardest part of a digital transformation

The most common mistake is for companies to focus all their energy on developing web and mobile apps to improve the customer experience, while forgetting about the more fundamental problem: how to access existing IT systems and processes quickly, securely and at scale.

In the cloud era, this data access is achieved via an application programming interface, or API, which is a system that allows other systems to talk to each other. Just like humans interact with programs through a user interface, a program interface interacts with other software programs.

These APIs can then be made available on a developer portal to improve developer experience, essentially making it much easier for software engineers to write powerful solutions.

Companies can maximise their chances of success by working with an experienced partner

These days such systems and applications are all based in the cloud, presenting firms with cost savings and opportunities to scale that could only be dreamt of several years ago. Yet to truly benefit, organisations must embrace cloud-native principles, which advocate delivering applications in smaller microservices.

To be successful, it is likely they will need to hire or retrain large teams of leaders, managers, consultants and engineers who are used to working in different ways.

Faster innovation

Integrella, a UK based consulting company, has used its experience working on hundreds of digital transformation projects to assemble the best open source software required for building APIs in a modern cloud-native architecture, while combining it with its own proprietary intellectual property.

It has helped top-flight banks, major insurers, high street retailers and NHS trusts to accelerate digital in a cost-effective way, while leveraging their existing assets and therefore minimising risk.

Integrella gives its software, which it calls its Digital Integration Platform, away for free to companies to drastically reduce the time, effort and risk involved in going digital.

It has pioneered its open API Lab to help firms API enable their existing data and processes, so they can innovate at the pace of a startup.

It consists of a target operating model, automated processes, standards and best practices, along with an onshore/offshore expert team that can provide technical support 24 hours a day at a fraction the cost of most single-tiered vendors.

Integrella infographic

Scaling the solution

Digital transformation is about more than just technology, however, which is why Integrella supports its clients at every stage of their digital transformation, from helping them work out what they want to scaling the solution across the entire business.

Crucially, it builds a pilot of the solution in the form of a minimum viable product, or MVP, to prove the initial assumptions in the business case stack up and allowing them to identify potential problems early on and get buy-in from stakeholders or external investors.

The risks are high with as many as 80 per cent of digital transformation projects failing to provide returns on investment due to poor strategy or execution. But inaction poses a much greater threat.

Pre-internet companies that do not achieve digital transformation will be unable to leverage the data trapped inside their businesses, making it harder to grow and innovate as more nimble digital-first rivals speed ahead.

The need for a trusted partner that can facilitate effective digital transformation has never been greater.

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