Digital Transformation is everywhere. Yet, according to Mckinsey, less than half of industrial business is digitized at all, with the United States at a fraction of its digital potential, and Europe trailing behind at barely two-thirds of the US potential. Let’s for a moment adopt the definition of “digital transformation” put forth by leading analysts, summarized as – the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model. Basically, a new way of doing business.
Embracing a new way of business brings with it a number of challenges. In addition to the cultural challenges to achieving continuous digital transformation, most businesses experience the practical challenges as well. How does the business digitally transform when it is encumbered by historical budgets, legacy systems, and a limited pool of skilled resources? And importantly, how can this be done at a speed that keeps pace with market driven demands? Business needs to transform before the next big thing leaves the ROI on the table. It begs the question – how can CIOs enable digital transformation when the businesses they are charged to transform are faced with these seemingly insurmountable constraints.
The answer is to create a partnership between the business and the CIO, a partnership built upon a new paradigm, one in which the CIO enables the business to participate in the transformation, to self-serve in the utilization of information and application modernization, while continuing to meet governance requirements for interacting with new and legacy business critical data.
Digital transformation is advanced when the business has the freedom to create robust modern ways of utilizing information to support new business models; and, the CIO leads a process and organization that can transform traditional sources and uses of data to enable the business to do so. To go a step further, the IT Group needs the ability and tools to create new microservices and data containers in a modular way. Simultaneously, the business line must have a self-service framework or platform for interacting with these data containers and microservices. Think of the data containers and microservices as legos generated by the IT department. The business line needs the ability to assemble the legos in different ways to create new things – new views, offerings, and processes, imperative to continuously transform the business into a modern vigorous model. The self-service framework for the business must be powerful enough to interact with the data; and to invoke microservices that produce new outcomes and views of the data, and by extension, the business.
Further, a business must leave behind the traditional cycles for innovation to achieve its potential for digital transformation. This means abandoning the traditional cycles for maintenance and improvement of legacy systems and data, and moving to application development platforms that no longer require traditional language oriented skill sets and methods. There must be an agile, iterative process for modernizing the business model – and by extension, the applications it runs on. Each iteration must be immediately transparent, leaving behind the shortcomings of traditional application modification that produce long development cycles and results that don’t meet the expectations of the business. Again, these new rapidly developed and changing applications must be able to combine legacy data with new information and data into useful views, and enable the business to self-service and interact with both.
Modern technology platforms are now capable of providing these exact tools for digital transformation. CIOs, once hesitant to embrace next gen technologies such as no code platforms, are now realizing the value of incorporating these tools into business application development, and other strategic uses like artificial intelligence. No code platforms automate the more intensive and risk prone processes, completely remove the need to write code and in so doing empower a new demographic of application author, alleviating dependence on skilled resources. The application lifecycle is dramatically shortened in the no code environment, allowing development to quickly go from requirements to testing, thereby reducing time and cost involved in the development process. Critical business applications can be delivered up to 20x faster, allowing business to handily meet market and customer driven demands for solutions, as well as move toward its digital potential.
Significantly, developers are now able to slay the legacy dragon. Static underpinning systems can now be deconstructed into nimble functional microservices, in a no-code manner. IT departments can use no code platforms to rapidly create intelligent microservices that consistent of any functional requirement, as a stand alone or complete application, and enable compliant services to be provided to the business line for self-assembly, remember the legos? The business line can rapidly snap together solutions to meet whatever requirement or need they have, while IT ensures compliance with corporate solutions, data and security policies. These intelligent functional microservices can also link multiple legacy systems and enable process invocation, data visualization and AI. The result of this organization and process is to empower the business line, free up IT to focus on innovation rather than project backlog, and ultimately, provide business the means to move toward its digital potential.
The process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model is becoming easier and faster than ever before. When CIOs drive a collaborative partnership between enterprise IT and the business, allowing the business to participate in the transformation by utilizing modern application development in conjunction with intelligent microservices and AI “bots”, the business thrives from its ability to utilize new and legacy data, and to produce new, different and meaningful outcomes. This partnership eliminates the historical restraints of transformation such as legacy debt, and enables the business to realize its true digital potential.