Worldwide, companies of all sizes and industries are undergoing change. While the term “transformation” is normally associated with IT departments, from a business point of view, it means making the necessary changes to move into new business areas and toward greater proximity to customers. In other words, achieving what we like to call “zero distance” between your company and your customers.
These transformations can be seen clearly in the retail and automotive industries. For example, market leaders in e-commerce offer virtual supermarkets in subways. Food can be ordered on the go with a smartphone and delivered to a customer’s home. In the automotive industry, connected cars talk to each other, to the dealer, to the manufacturer, and most importantly, to the driver.
The benefits of these transformations are enormous and every company should be moving toward achieving zero distance to the customer if they want to compete. According to analysts, there is a paradigm shift in relationships between customers and employees, as well as a stronger focus on the end customer and on projects to increase customer satisfaction.
However, it isn’t always easy to incorporate innovations like social collaboration, mobility, cloud, and big data into your business landscape. This is where IT needs to be transformed into the enabler of revenue growth and competitive advantage. And IT providers play a decisive role here. They must master the innovation drivers and the interface issue to link all this together.
Cloud — The Enabling Technology
Until recently, cloud computing has served as a relatively mundane means to make IT production simpler and to reduce costs. Now, the cloud has become the enabling technology for change — simplyput, no cloud, no business transformation. Through the cloud, companies can gain the opportunity to adjust the proportion of resources tied to routine or legacy operations and achieve greater flexibility for innovation.
The cloud forms the basis for the “age of the user,” in which expectations with regard to simplicity, availability, and usability are transferred to business applications. The cloud is also at the heart of the entire mobility movement — an absolute must if your company wants to get closer to consumers. It is becoming clear that cloud adoption is about much more than the cloud, and cannot be sufficiently understood as a standalone phenomenon in the IT market. It should instead be considered a core ingredient of a larger transformation of the IT industry — and many other industries using IT to transform themselves.1
In fact, within three years, it is predicted that 70% of CIOs will pursue a cloud-first strategy in their IT spending (see Figure 1).2 CIOs recognize the benefits that cloud services represent for transformation. IT departments are under increased pressure to expand their understanding of business and the associated processes.
Product managers want to collect customer opinions of new developments from the outset, marketing directors want to quickly make success forecasts more precise using big data, and HR departments want urgent implementation of e-recruiting. There is a shift in decision-making authority. Consistent with this is the fact that by 2020 almost two-thirds of all IT spending will be for distribution and customer-oriented applications.3
Dropping Anchor for Transformation via the Cloud
The multidimensional transformation in a future that can only be planned to a limited degree goes hand in hand with the increasing possibilities and availability of cloud services. To take full advantage of cloud services and ensure a successful business transformation, it is imperative to look at your specific needs and requirements, as well as the state of your current landscape. After these considerations have been laid out, not only can every suitable offering be used immediately, but these offerings can also be quickly expanded to meet unforeseen demand.
Companies should consider four key points before beginning their cloud transformations:
Readiness. Before moving your applications to the cloud, it is important to make sure your landscape is well prepared. Taking a cloud-readiness assessment clarifies whether your applications are cloud-ready, whether your processes and IT services are suitable, and what risks or side effects can be expected. The assessment also defines the key aspects of the business architecture, such as business strategy, processes, and potential, as well as service architectures, such as delivery models and service levels.
Hybrid vs. full-cloud approach. Companies need to evaluate whether they want to pursue all-cloud solutions, or a hybrid approach that combines on-premise and cloud solutions. The starting point to a sturdy hybrid approach is the secure private cloud. It offers high availability and security for business-critical applications and the highest degree of standardization. The transition to a hybrid approach enables distributed use of workloads such as regional or on-premise cloud solutions according to the specifics of function or location. The smooth parallel operation and meshing of these cloud models is crucial.
SAP HANA out of the cloud. SAP HANA offers many advantages, such as reduced costs, quick insights, and optimized technical development. When working with a cloud partner experienced in virtualized and dynamic environments, companies can feel secure knowing that the transition to the cloud can be achieved smoothly with minimal risk. A further advantage is the opportunity of providing demand-oriented developer environments in the short term for SAP HANA, which can save companies time and money.
Security. Security in the cloud goes beyond basic, on-premise security. It requires a holistic view of corporate and business processes, as well as the responsibilities and skills of employees. A corporate-wide security strategy, involving the development and implementation of an end-to-end security perspective, needs to be applied.
Custom Business Transformations
The end-to-end approach can no longer be limited to plan, build, run, and optimize. Rather, it is about linking game-changing elements like mobility and big data — and the transformation to completely new business models cannot be mastered in any other way. Our goal at T-Systems is to help you achieve a custom transformation based on standardized solutions and your own unique landscape.
With the right IT provider, your company can focus on business transformation and achieve zero distance between your business and customers. To learn more, visit www.t-systems.com.
1 IDC, “Four Pillars ‘Cloud’” (2013). [back]
2 IDC, “Insights 2013: The CIO Agenda” (December 2012). [back]
3 A.T. Kearney, “IT 2020 Preparing for the Future” (July 2013). [back]