Technology is rapidly changing businesses in a substantial number of ways, with everything from communication to collaboration being revolutionised with the introduction of new technologies.
This so-called 'digital era' is now in full effect, with further growth a certainty over the next few years. In order for businesses to keep on top of a fast-changing and evolving technology environment, it's going to be essential to understand exactly what needs to be done.
Positioning IT as a main business focus should be the first step, followed by growing an understanding from personnel at all levels. With a concrete focus and strategy, businesses will be able to thrive in this new digital era.
There's no denying that digital technologies have already changed businesses, as clearly evidenced by devices like the smartphone. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as the largest developments are still to come.
"All signs suggest that organisations have just begun to tap into the potential of digital business; however, organisations that don't accelerate their digital business transformation will lose market position," said Allie Young, vice president at Gartner.
The research organisation has predicted that come 2017, 60 per cent of Global 1000 organisations will deploy at least one revolutionary business transformation effort.
With such substantial growth predicted, it's going to be essential to explore all possible digital strategies.
Where focus is required
Businesses will need to undertake targeted approaches when assessing digital strategies, with a focus on using technology in a variety of ways.
Here, several possible focuses will be briefly outlined.
- Practices – Businesses will need to use new digital technologies in order to ensure sustainability both within the marketplace and even the environment. These can be new initiatives designed to compliment traditional operations.
- Communications – New communication tools and systems can overhaul businesses, proving tools to connect with employees working from home and travelling around the country.
- Productivity – New digital systems can effectively transform business, with technologies such as online ordering systems and storage databases bringing new efficiencies to stagnant areas.
Gartner have outlined two digital business concepts that businesses will need to be aware of, as they're able to provide a central focus. Below, the two strategies will be explored.
Core IT systems are essential for a business, and often serve as the backbone of IT infrastructure. Gartner found that significant spending is channelled into core system improvements, in addition to new digital technologies. It's essential that a dual focus is put in place over the next few years, with core systems being frequently reassessed and upgraded when required, along with similar assessments of new technologies.
The final concept that needs to be considered is what's called 'bimodal IT', which has been designed to address exactly how businesses capture digital opportunities. Gartner explained that two modes of enterprise IT are required here, one that's highly-controlled and industrial strength, and the other experimental and able to quickly evolve.
This flexible mode of operations will be key for businesses in the near future.
A focus on correct implementation
Key to pushing into the digital era is a strong focus on proper training, as simply adopting strategies without regard for doing so correctly can be disastrous.
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of practices that can be highly effective, as it focuses on processes, procedures, tasks and checklists to ensure the wider IT strategy is delivering value. In addition, ITIL can be used to maintain a minimum level of IT competency across the organisation.
IT professionals and businesses should consider the value of ITIL training, and how a course from ALC Training is able to effectively grow the skills required by modern businesses.