Dr. Gopala Krishna Behara
Today, every business is a technology business. Many Organizations embarked on a digital transformation journey to couple with IT to strengthen the power of technology, scale services with efficiency, promote digital innovation and finally lead to speed the business value.
Aim of the Organizations today is to perform better than their competitor, provide Smart services to their customers and being agile in adopting new business strategies, new/modify business processes and provide better customer experience to meet the changing business and marketing requirements.
Digital Transformation is not a product or out-of-box solution that can be purchased. It is the process of adopting next generation technologies, bringing cultural changes to improve the current state of an organization. New technologies lead to process improvements which lead to better products and services.
The key priorities of the Digital Transformation are:
- Connected Customer, always helps the customer to see the new possibilities
- Digital acceleration, that helps in reducing the complexity, promotes innovation and better business value
- Reliable, competitive, and efficient IT function
- High performing Organization capability
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change – Charles Darwin
Digital transformation enables an organization to better serve its principal stakeholders covering: customers, employees, partners and shareholders.
Any digital transformation has the following characteristics,
- Digital transformations are evolutionary rather than revolutionary
- No common solution for digital transformation for the organizations
- Future roadmap of an organization is dependent on the current state of the organization
- Cultural transformation is a primary part of the digital transformation
- Adoption of new Technologies are the key enabler for digital transformation
The following are the key technical imperatives that need to be addressed by the Organization’s transformation community.
Key Digital Transformation Technologies
Digital imperatives help the Organization in business innovation, acceleration, and exponential growth in business value. Adoption of next generation technologies leverages cloud, platform, architectural innovations, and mature application development methods to deliver superior developer experience characterized by speed, quality, productivity that are essential for the emerging digital worlds.
The key digital technologies driving the Organization business for the next decade are,
Cloud Adoption: Most of the organizations today are adopting the Cloud First Strategy across the organization to achieve rapid time to market. Cloud technology helps the organizations in accelerating the adoption of latest industry trends faster and efficient. Cloud Adoption provides the good benefits to the organization such as reduced costs of technology and response times, flexible and on-demand services, improved scalability, extensive storage, high availability and security. It also helps the organization to automate the processes and improve user access to data in a secured way. Many organizations today are adopting Hybrid Cloud that helps in connecting on-premises IT, public cloud and private cloud resources with orchestration, management and application portability.
Data Management: Data is an organization asset and should be shared for maximum value. It accelerates the business insights of an organization in the form of analytics. It open up opportunity to use unlimited amount of data to deliver differentiated analysis to solve complicated business challenges. The insights provided by big data analytics enables the organizations to support data driven decisions. It promotes greater access to data across enterprise value streams.
Application Simplification: Rationalize and modernize the application portfolio to increase productivity, flexibility, adaptability, and manageability and better align IT with the business of the organization. It helps in streamline the processes, reduction in application bloat, reduction in maintenance cost, enhance efficiency, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), adhere to compliance, and increase agility of an organization. It helps in freeing up the time, cost and resources.
Connect through API’s: APIs are standardized interfaces that expose business services and share data between enterprise systems to maximize reuse of data and functionality. It promotes faster innovation by adopting the philosophy of, build once and reuse multiple times which reduces the complexity, costs and wait time. API’s empower organizations to generate and implement ideas without requiring them to change their backend systems.
Monolith to Microservices: Adoption of Microservices by an organization provides the extreme time to Market and establishes the bridge between Business and IT of the enterprise. Microservices implementation provides interoperability and flexibility to the Organization. To achieve success with Microservices, organizations must first build a well-designed application according to existing platform standards; refactor the application into a collection of Microservices as necessary to meet business needs. With the right people, processes, and tools, Microservices can deliver faster development and deployment, easier maintenance, improved scalability, and freedom from long-term technology commitment.
AI & ML adoption: AI opens a new era of next generation technologies, devices, and opportunities. AI helps organizations in creating software or devices which can solve enterprise problems very easily and with accuracy such as health issues, marketing, traffic issues, etc. AI reduces human involvement in many different areas, much faster, far more accurately and with fewer to no errors, not to mention the efficiency with which tasks are completed. Examples of AI are: Voice and Speech Recognition, Face recognition and face identification, Object detection, Intuition, Inferencing, Learning new skills, Decision making, Abstract thinking etc.
Leveraging IoT: The Internet of Things (IoT) provides organizations with on-going insights into what is going on with their products, operations, and customers. IoT help organizations to achieve their most important goals like, create significant impact on customer experience and deliver unified product and service experience, huge cost savings/revenue, improving employee productivity, improving customer requests and service delivery and Improving innovation. The effectiveness of IoT cannot be realized without the collaboration of industry, enterprise and agencies. Enterprises and Agencies work together to build a consistent set of standards that everyone must follow. The large volume of new information allows a new collaboration of enterprise, industry and customer. It enables the rapid development of IoT-focused preventive and predictive analytics.
Block Chain adoption: Blockchain is a disruptive technology because of its ability to digitize, decentralize, secure and incentivize the validation of transactions. A wide swath of industries are evaluating Blockchain to determine what strategic differentiators could exist for their businesses if they leverage Blockchain. This technology has the potential to improve security, processes and systems in the financial services, government and every domain where accurate, tamper proof record keeping is essential. Disrupted industries will include Financial Services, Healthcare, Aviation, Global Logistics and Shipping, Transportation, Music, Manufacturing, Security, Media, Identity, Automotive, Land Use and Government.
DevSecOps Adoption: DevSecOps is about introducing security earlier in the software development life cycle (SDLC) by expanding the collaboration between development and operations teams to include security teams. The set of concepts, cultural philosophies, practices, team organization structures and tools increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity to the clients. It helps in responding to new requirements quickly, or to problems that occur in production. This enables organizations to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market. DevSecOps aims to maximize the predictability, efficiency, security and maintainability of operational processes. It helps in building security into application development from end to end.
Technology Risk Management: Technology Risk addresses the technical failures, infrastructure related risks, service failure. Verifies whether the application offer audit trail function i.e. are all/critical process steps logged or not. Checks in adequate skills and resources available to support the application. It also covers Operational considerations and aging of siloed systems. Other category of the risk is Product stability, product replacement availability, resources risk and skills availability risks. Checks the financial stability of the software and hardware vendor of the application. Verifies whether there is a clear/published roadmap for the technology/product by its supplier/vendor as part of this risk category.
Security by Design: It is a set of policies, practices, tools & templates to guide security related decision making and risk management. It implements the building blocks of information security infrastructure across the entire organization. Enterprise Security Architecture is the process of translating business security vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating and improving the key security requirements, principles and models that describe the enterprise’s future security state and enable its evolution. It provides confidence and assurance to business, help in protecting business assets and support the business objectives.
Better Customer Experience: It increases productivity by providing ubiquitous access to data by enabling users whenever they perform work. It helps in delivering seamless customer experience built around 360 degree view of the customer. Enable multi-channel access, making information available from multiple type of devices.
Digital transformation is a long term strategy rather than a short term. It involves existing technical and cultural change of an organization that leads to success of a business. There is no single solution, framework, established roadmap for the digital transformation of an organization that can be accepted universally. It depends on the current state of the organization. The organization need to redefine the development methodologies, business processes and culture as part of digital transformation. It has to be evolutionary, incremental and iterative.
The author would like to thank Santosh Shinde of BTIS, Enterprise Architecture division of HCL Technologies Ltd for giving the required time and support in many ways in bringing this article as part of Architecture Practice efforts.
Dr. Gopala Krishna Behara is an Enterprise Architect in BTIS Enterprise Architecture division of HCL Technologies Ltd. He has a total of 26 years of IT experience. Reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this article/presentation are that of author and HCL does not subscribe to the substance, veracity or truthfulness of the said opinion