Future ready enterprises Embracing agility and resilience

CIOReview Team | Monday, 13 July 2015, 11:19 IST

BUSINESS leaders build their strategy using information at their disposal. Whether they look at historical trends, listen to the best experts or go with their instincts – or all three they can still be blind-sided. We live in the age of digital disruption, where new players and visionaries can leverage technology to radically change markets and industries – and make the most successful and entrenched brands obsolete very quickly.
Businesses leaders may not always be able to predict the future, but they should be prepared to quickly, easily, and cost effectively respond to whatever the future may bring, such as fluctuating market dynamics, growing competition, or increased customer expectations.The rapid change in the business world today builds the case for why it is important for businesses to embrace agility and resilience through the ‘Future-ready Enterprise.’
Business agility is not easily achieved if technology inhibits flexibility in any way. A technology infrastructure must enable an organisation to make dramatic changes, as needed, without any arbitrary restrictions or intentional limitations imposed by technology vendors.
All that is required is a commitment to open standards and the acceptance that we do not, and cannot, know what the future may hold.
Building a Future-ready Enterprise based on open standards enables all technology to simply work together better, regardless of the vendor who designed it.
Whether it is hardware, software or a service, it should fit seamlessly into an existing IT environment today and work with the technology of the future.
Whether the business infrastructure is built on a complex patchwork of point IT solutions or created more systematically with a consistent IT framework, it can be simplified, standardised, and made more capable of responding to change.
Being future-ready requires a long-term vision and a new approach to IT decision-making, however.
To get started, organisations can embark on a future-ready journey with the five steps below:
1) Modernising and automating

Old software and obsolete platforms are inherently restrictive. They limit your ability to add new capabilities to the enterprise, and they require a disproportionate amount of resources to maintain.
Migrating to more modern systems reduces cost, improves agility, and lays the foundation for the future. It also allows labour-intensive processes to be automated, which saves money and reduces the potential for human error.
2) Investing in simplicity
Some IT leaders might be tempted to think that pursuing a simpler IT environment means maintaining the status quo; a passive act.
It doesn’t. Simplifying means actively and aggressively understanding the value of existing systems. It means conducting a comprehensive audit, and applying analytical rigour to determine the return on IT assets.
Investing in simplicity also means transitioning off of rigid, aging, proprietary systems that require expensive specialists to manage and maintain.
Committing to simplicity is not cheap, at least not initially. But it’s a lot less expensive than continuing to live with complexity.
3) Embracing open standards
At its best, the IT industry is a community of innovators working together for the greater good. When done right, powerful technologies are produced that are based on open standards.
There are some that would argue that standards stifle innovation among IT vendors; that proprietary technology is the only way to differentiate.
We disagree. We believe that technology vendors should differentiate themselves by the innovation they build on top of standards. That way, you are assured compatibility between the solutions you buy today and tomorrow.
But ultimately, only the market can decide whether our approach is valid. Standards-based solutions also meet the greatest number of needs in the greatest number of situations, and they have been marketplace tested.
So there is a predictability, stability and price/ value benefit you get from standards that cannot be matched with proprietary solutions.
4) Thinking software-defined

Software has revolutionised way we live and work. When we think about the Future-ready Enterprise, one that is capable of responding to change quickly, we think about moving as much of the operations and management of IT as possible into software.
‘Software-defined X’ can transform how organisations manage workloads and infrastructure, how they buy hardware and software, and how they change the entire cost paradigm for providing enterprise workloads and functionality.
Software – more than any other aspect of information technology – allows for flexibility and agility in IT systems. From applications delivered through the cloud to the software-based data centre, this is the foundational thinking behind delivering IT-as-a-service.
A software-first strategy can deliver the results every organisation is seeking:  Greater agility, lower costs, simplification, and ultimately, better organisational results.
5) Designing security with ‘end-to-end’ in mind
The IT security market has always been highly fragmented. There are dozens of ‘best-of-breed’ solutions addressing narrow aspects of security – from intrusion detection to application security to identity and access management.
Problems occur when these point solutions are not seamlessly integrated. The reason is because organisations do not have on-staff security experts and solutions aren’t designed to work in concert with each other.
This piecemeal approach leaves unintended and potentially dangerous gaps.
Future-ready enterprises use end-to-end security that is designed from the start to be simple, efficient and connected. Successful organisations design security holistically so that every part works in concert to do its part.
By tying together the splintered aspects of IT security into one integrated solution, organisations can share, combine, and analyse security insight from every system across the organisation.
The future is here now
In conclusion, technology can drive better outcomes for businesses, suggest new ways to disrupt existing business models or address disruptions in the industry, but it has to be leveraged with the flexible, adaptable IT infrastructure that is found in a Future-ready Enterprise.
Organisations cannot be ready for the future if they are still using outdated technology and clinging to old ways of thinking.
Whether it is harnessing data to create better insights and services, using the cloud to rapidly address new customer needs or supporting a highly mobile workforce, organisations can better prepare themselves for the unpredictable future by adopting the most progressive technology infrastructures and best practices designed to meet the challenges of the modern enterprise.