Continuity is key to be able to deliver
“Adapt or die,” The message was clear as computer scientist and software executive Paul Maritz addressed the crowd at the My World of Tomorrow (MWOT) conference and exhibition in October to discuss digital transformation – enterprise IT in the new era.
The Zimbabwean local who’d headed up industry giants such as Microsoft, EMC Corporation and Pivotal stressed that, “Technology changes and we need to change with it.”
In today’s business landscape, companies know, or rather should know, that experience is just as important as the product on offer. Technology needs to be modified to today’s world and used in a different fashion.
“We’ve had to evolve structures,” he explained. “With PCs, the web, the automation of paper processes, cloud, mobile, IoT (Internet of Things), consumer apps – we need new systems and we need new engagements.”
Pioneer apps and deliver
Contextual intelligence, the practical application of knowledge and information to real-world situations, that’s what’s needed. “Use the same principles when pioneering apps and deliver the service,” Maritz advised, “catch someone or something in the act of doing something and affect the outcome.”
In the past money was spent on broad media advertising, now the investment needs to be made in building compelling, and differentiating real-time service. Uber, Netflix, Tesla are all stellar examples.
But systems need to change all the time and business has to learn to live with two parallel tracks that support rapid application development and operational stabilisation projects. This is known as bimodal IT.
“Existing systems aren’t going to make you different,” says Maritz. ”Ask: what builds your unique business model and develop that into your system.” Which then means becoming a software company.
Companies on a whole need to know that this is no longer an IT problem, it’s a business problem. Software is now a team sport, you build product and think about how practices are organised. “If you follow your business plan to specifications, it’s the kiss of death – continuous is the key word here.”
“It’s the people, the platform and the analytics,” said Maritz.
Asking the questions
Can I scale? Can I work on a cloud but not get locked into one cloud provider? Is it manageable and secure? What will make this easier to support my business? – these should be posed and in turn solve your platform query.
“You need an operating system that keeps you away from underlying hardware.”
And lastly, analytics. Analytics need to respond in real time and take advantage of the things people make use of. “There ‘s not one single technique that will work here,” says Maritz. “Use a variety!”
“How do you get there?” Maritz preempts the question. “By starting your transformation.” Businesses that are now successful gave their starting point a lot of thought. “You’ve got to get on the right footing and be conscious of the fact that you’re doing something different.”
Finally, suggests Maritz, in order to become successful at being different, find partners that will do stuff with you, not for you. “Writing a cheque doesn’t cut it. It’s so important to have a transfer process, where you train your people and then control your own future.”
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About Clare Matthes:
Clare’s father swears she was born waving spirit fingers and singing tah dah in an oh-so-dahling-showbiz-esque manner. Nicknamed “Schnauze” because of her smart mouth and quick whit, Clare enjoys putting the world in words. This sarcastic eye roller extraordinaire has a passion for all things gadget, technology and social media. She sees the humour in everything and never shies away from a good old égoportrait (selfie)