“Simplify the cloud” is a common request, but all too often it is still articulated in very technical terms. Rob Price, head of digital at Atos UK&I, offers an alternative, four-point simplification and considers how organisations are transforming their businesses to thrive in a digital economy
A recent blog by Martin Gill argued that businesses should not appoint a chief digital officer because “rather than pin the hopes on a single Che Guevara-style revolutionary, CEOs in particular must recognise that this is an incredibly complex problem”. “This” is the transformation of an organisation to enable it to succeed in the digital economy, an economy where everyone and everything is connected. Cloud computing, mobility, social and big data represent both technology and behavioural forces at the heart of such change, but they should not be the driving reason for such transformation.
Globalisation, demographic change, economic sustainability and trust are mega-trends driving the need for an agile response from business, and that response is increasingly enabled by technology – technology that is evolving at a faster rate than ever before. In time, we will look back over the current two decades as a more fundamental change than the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.
The Digital Revolution is driving an accelerated “evolution” of mankind. It compels us to demand immediacy and individual personalisation of experience, to demand specialism and excellence as boundaries of awareness are made meaningless through absolute transparency of all data. Organisations must be more fluid, better able to create and evolve products and services faster, and better able to deliver their customer experience in a personalised, differentiated way.
We find that in order to drive that transformation organisations need to consider a response at four levels. It starts with redesigning the customer experience itself – an omnichannel experience that connects the customer to what they need at the point they need it. Incorporating channel shift and digital marketing, with considerations to identity and trust, the necessity is to understand the context of each interaction such that you can provide a highly personalised, highly relevant customer experience each time.
To deliver that effectively, you need to consider the redesign of the business operations that enable that execution. Apply a lens of “what would the web do” to your existing business operations and design them in a way that facilitates openness, agility, flexibility and responsiveness. Often, it is easy to look at cloud SaaS [software as a service] applications as a way to improve your existing processes, but it is increasingly important to consider a more disruptive step-change to gain market position.
We have been working with a global business over the past two years that has undergone a major, award-winning, digital transformation. They deemed that to deliver a digital experience to their customers, they needed to live and breathe a digital experience inside the business too. Their employees needed to make the jump, to enable the business to make the jump. They introduced cloud-based communications, collaboration and productivity tools, created a desire for adoption and use, and now see the programme as a way of driving the differentiation of their business – by considering the way in which redesigning their workplace enables the core business operations that drive an effective customer experience.
Finally, and underpinning all other levels, is the need to redesign your IT infrastructure. New digital IT must be an enabler, most importantly agile, flexible and (sometimes) cheaper – a resource that works as you need it to work, at the point at which you need it. This is the promise that cloud computing makes – whether public or private, shared or dedicated, on-premise or off-premise, whether IaaS [infrastructure as a service], PaaS [platform as a service] or SaaS. Cloud, as an enabling technology, will help you to facilitate the business transformation you need to make, but only if you adopt and manage it in the context of your evolved business operating model.
The Digital Revolution is driving an accelerated ‘evolution’ of mankind
In the Atos white paper Liquid IT we articulated this as “streamlined business processes and business agility that takes advantage of IT never being the bottleneck to addressing new strategic initiatives”. Cloud solutions ought to be easier to implement, easier to change and easier to evolve in an agile, iterative way. Of course, not all are today but in this rapidly maturing market, it will shortly become the expected digital norm. The digital enterprise architecture is one where a small change to the needs of the business results in a small change to the enabling IT infrastructure – and not the inverse.
To gain the fluidity Liquid IT promises, it is clear solutions are needed that ease the portability of data and workflows across multiple cloud applications and multiple devices. This is an area that Atos’ Scientific Community has spent much time focused on, and indeed their resultant Cloud Orchestration Platform was recognised for the NASSCOM 2013 Process Innovation Award.
Cloud is one part of the Digital Revolution. It will fundamentally change both the shape of business and that of the IT services industry. Be sure that as you move either your compute power or your applications into the cloud, you think about it from the perspective of the impact it will make on improving the agility of your business and making it a better place to work – with more flexible, accelerated business operations that enable it to meet your customers’ changing expectations today, tomorrow and in the future. And then transform.
Publically launched by Thierry Breton, chairman and chief executive of Atos, and sponsored by Hubert Tardieu, the Scientific Community has more than 100 members from all geographies where Atos operates, representing a rich mix of skills and backgrounds. Its aim is to help Atos anticipate and craft its vision of upcoming technology disruptions, and the future business challenges that will be faced by the markets it serves.
Publically launched by Thierry Breton, chairman and chief executive of Atos, and sponsored by, the Scientific Community has more than 100 members from all geographies where Atos a rich mix of skills Canopy, an Atos company in partnership with EMC and VMware, is the Atos cloud service line that offers cloud services, focused exclusively on bringing the benefits of cloud delivery to large public and multinational private-sector organisations. The Canopy offerings allow customers to decide whether to run solutions off or on-premise to best meet their business needs, including reduced IT costs and flexible pricing models. Headquartered in London, Canopy currently operates in 48 countries across three continents.