I find it fascinating to see how “historical” ideas become refreshingly new again when they fit a compelling modern vision. Here is a case in point, as organizations embrace the need to go digital.
Remember leasing computer power? Days when access to a mainframe was sliced into hours, and assigned and managed across users? The idea of sharing access to powerful tools was a good one. And it takes on important new prominence in the age of the digital enterprise.
As analyst firm IDC notes, “enterprises will either become adept at digital transformation and thrive – or fail to master the disciplines and struggle to survive.”1 It takes vision, technology, and expert guidance to become a world-class digital enterprise.
I believe a key part of that vision is the cloud – something you might consider as the modern version of sharing specialized, high power software functionality, just in a convenient, manageable, and very cost-effective manner.
Customers I speak with are evaluating all of their IT capabilities, to understand how they can deliver “services” to their customers, internal and external. When it comes to Enterprise Content Management (ECM), many are deciding that installing, managing and maintaining is not their strategic focus or a core competency they want to keep in-house and continue to build. Instead, their digital enterprise focus is to add value to their organization, innovate, and provide the productivity tools and ECM solutions that enable their workforce to attract, keep and engage with the new digital customer. With the right tools and ECM solutions in place, hosted and managed in the cloud, companies will be able to find that new breakthrough drug much faster; get that nuclear plant built on time; or add another 10,000 banking customers as they expand into a new market, to cite a few industry examples.
For IT teams to go digital and deliver a catalog of services, it takes knowing what efforts to leave to the experts. Look for cloud solutions that make it simple and straightforward to stop wasting time on maintaining and tuning ECM solutions. Look for better performance, streamlined upgrades, and scale to accelerate their drive toward the digital enterprise evolution.
The hallmarks of a digital enterprise are the ability to be more competitive, agile, and innovative. ECM is no exception, and we have already seen our cloud customers realize and validate these benefits.
Bringing Cloud into the Mix
From a cloud perspective, how do you align to a digital enterprise vision in the ECM world? Quite honestly, some things will change, and some things will remain the same.
First, you will still want to replace legacy systems. This eliminates the cost of licensing and maintaining older systems, freeing up money for investing in new systems, applications, technology, and innovation. But instead of an on-premise only server and application strategy, now you can consider a cloud component in your ECM strategy. Replace on-premise deployments and legacy systems with fully managed cloud solutions.
Second, a comprehensive, enterprise-wide digital platform is still important, if not more important, in the digital enterprise. This platform will contain many pieces, including CRM, ERP, from multiple vendors. For this, you will need the important “vision” and “guidance” components IDC mentioned, delivered as a complete content strategy. Not only will you want to consider cloud options, but you will also want to consult with ECM experts to develop a strategy that is consistent and coherent across your entire organization.
Third, the culture of your company will continue to play an important role in your digital enterprise journey. Would you describe your organization as a laggard, traditional, or innovator type enterprise? Knowing your company’s appetite for change and ability to absorb innovation can help you determine where and how to introduce ECM cloud options. For example, next-generation ECM micro-applications that are cloud-based and mobile-optimized for the way people want to use content, could fit an “innovator” culture, yet may be too forward-thinking for a laggard. Moving ECM deployments to the cloud for particular user bases, however, may fit all culture types since this approach delivers all the same robust ECM capabilities offered by a on-premises solution, just delivered in the cloud.
In summary, the mobile, social, and big data worlds have collided, in part creating our new digital enterprise opportunity and changing how we work and thrive. Consider all the current benefits that cloud offerings already deliver, and how they become incredibly relevant again in your new digital enterprise model.
Is your organization ready to become new (again) as you go through digital transformation?
- IDC MaturityScape: Digital Transformation Mar 2015 Doc # 254721