An app-etite for success in the digital economy in 2017 and beyond
By Martin Mackay February 1, 2017
- Companies of the future will be “built to change” by putting software at the centre
- Focus on business agility to drive rapid, continuous improvement in customer experience
CLOUD computing, big data analysis, software-defined networking and information security – all the hot jobs of today (and tomorrow) are driven by the application economy.
The recent study by LinkedIn clearly shows that the most in-demand skills revolve around an increasingly digital future.
Notably, one of the top skills being sought is user interface design, focusing on the crucial area of user experience, designing the interaction between product and customer. This reflects the evolving nature of all businesses where customers are more likely to interact with brands through an app than a person.
Successful companies of the future will be “built to change” by putting software at the centre of everything they do. Such companies understand that current structures and ecosystems are vulnerable to better ideas and they have to be willing to radically change how they manage talent, how they manage assets and investments and how they manage risk.
These “built to change” companies focus on business agility, which in turn enables them to drive rapid, continuous improvement in customer experience.
The crucial common characteristic these companies share is the embracing of successful digital transformation. Talk of digital transformation (DX) is near inescapable these days.
Enterprises, governments and even cities are looking to technology and innovation to stay relevant at a time when traditional ways of doing things are being disrupted.
Companies are retooling themselves and hiring talent that can get them there. Research by IDC found that 60% of the top 1,000 enterprises in Asia Pacific are placing digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy.
Digital transformation is not just a fad that businesses are riding. It has very real advantages for those who have thought about and carried out digital initiatives.
Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) respondents of a recent CA Technologies study reported significant pay-offs in business impact since undertaking digital initiatives:
- 76% reported improvement in digital reach
- 73% reported improvement in customer experience
- 40% improvement in customer satisfaction
- 38% growth in new business revenue
- 32% increase in time-to-decision
- 25% increase in speed-to-market
Digital transformation is a journey - one that built to change companies recognizes has a constantly evolving destination, as they plan and develop their own software.
That is why the modern company needs a modern software factory to deliver continuously improving, customer-focused innovation. With a modern software factory, companies that are built to change will have limitless opportunities to innovate, while having the agility to identify and unwind the things that aren’t working, and adapt them appropriately.
Crucially on this journey, the modern company has to pay attention to four key areas in its roadmap: Agility, DevOps, Security and, where appropriate, the not-to-be-forgotten Mainframe.
Agile: More than a methodology or toolset, Agile is a philosophy to redefine how work is planned, executed and serviced to deliver more value to customers, more rapidly. To deliver a smooth, well-designed and reliable experience for customers, businesses need to have the capability to monitor how systems are performing at any given point on the potential impact of any problem. This allows the team to constantly refine the interface design and enhance the customer experience.
DevOps: One of the key benefits of introducing DevOps (both from a process and culture point of view) is that it removes silos within the company and therefore eliminates the dependence on the availability of an individual person or team in order for software delivery to progress. Businesses must unify their development and operations teams to deliver breakthrough applications that maximize customer experience.
Security: As we notice our customers’ businesses moving increasingly to a hybrid IT environment where cloud and on premise applications co-exist, it is clear that an identity-centric security strategy is essential. Security is not just a challenge to businesses for data and reputation protection. It can be an opportunity to win customer loyalty and boost employee productivity, especially with identity-centric security that supports provision of the right people with seamless access to the right data at the right time.
Mainframe: Mission critical systems for many of the most advanced companies run on mainframes. They support thousands of applications and devices simultaneously for thousands of users. The mainframe is a powerful ally in terms of supporting and unlocking business value. It can help businesses deliver applications and services with the transparency, availability and reliability customers have come to expect. Mainframes eliminate the barriers between ideas and outcomes for mission-essential applications. As IT leaders start evaluating the costs and effort to achieve dependability, they are realising that today’s mainframes actually offer surprising opportunities in delivering economic and agility advantages.
The message is clear: organisations both big and small are betting on digital transformation. This is the challenge we must all set ourselves. Change is the only constant, and it applies to how businesses are run. For a company to be built to last, it must first and foremost be built to change.
Martin Mackay is president and general manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, CA Technologies