You can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. Making software development a core competency to quickly evolve products and services is essential in keeping pace with ever-changing consumer demands.
Apr 13, 2020
Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Rome to meet with one of our customers, Poste Italiane. Not only does Poste Italiane provide postal services, but they offer financial and insurance products throughout Italy as they manage pension payouts. While the organization drives a tremendous amount of change to modernize its own infrastructure, they are finding it difficult to drive digital adoption amongst the older populations.
But fast forward to today, that will dramatically change with Covid-19. Similarly to many of you, I’ve found myself replacing time spent on face-to-face breaks in the office with other types of activities at home, one of which is a daily call to my parents in Italy. They are both in their seventies, living in a very small town in the Abruzzo region.
One recent conversation left a deep impression on me: “We finally need you to teach us how to use the internet to buy things, as all of the local stores are restricting access or closed.”
Why does this matter? Without the ability to physically interact with customers during this unprecedented event of Covid-19, digital is a necessity for all businesses. It’s pushing even the laggards to adopt into the digital age faster than ever.
Quoted recently in The Wall Street Journal, Kim Anstett, chief information officer at Iron Mountain Inc., summed it up perfectly: “I believe companies will double down on digital transformation initiatives that are a must in these changing conditions.”
Already 75 percent of consumers today expect companies to use new technologies to create better experiences, according to Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer” report. In addition to this, 73 percent of customers say one extraordinary experience raises their expectations of other companies. That means your customers will leave—if they think a competitor can solve their problems better than you can.
While companies often embark on digital transformation to ward off disruption from incumbents and upstarts, businesses are faced with a new challenge: relying solely on digital services to operate business, support remote work for employees, and communicate with customers. Have you considered the following?
Can your employees perform 100% remote?
Are your developers and testers able to access their tools, code, test data and seamlessly collaborate with teammates?
Is your customer support team ready to quickly resolve issues for customers in a remote setting?
Can your customers and business partners submit purchase orders online?
This pandemic is also delivering an array of data security challenges. The shift to remote work for most companies is creating a playground for hackers, spreading phishing scams and malware to exploit fears. When companies embark on their digital transformation journey, they need to keep in mind that it also includes a security transformation as well. Transforming into a digital company requires companies to integrate security into the innovation workflow and mapping out an end-to-end view of critical enterprise data, so teams can assess the risk within the data and manage those risks appropriately.
Business leaders need to quickly build up competitive digital cultures and organizations in order to cope with the challenges of today and tomorrow. As companies make progress in transforming their businesses into digital machines, there must be an alignment among people, process, and technology—also known as DevOps in the IT world. Finding (and testing) this balance will pay dividends, especially during difficult times.
As companies move from the discovery phrase to delivery, here are three essential drivers for digital transformation.
1. Expanding your cloud footprint. The cloud gives you the ability to have resources at your disposal to scale up and down as the economic environment and business dictates. Having the ability to quickly leverage a virtually infinite amount of resources as needed can result in faster response to high(er) demand. It also provides the flexibility to scale down and reduce consumption when peak season is over. For internal productivity and collaboration, public clouds can become a strategic asset, especially when you’re in a resource-constrained environment (such as Covid-19), as it makes it easier for personnel to work from home 100% of the time—without the need of manual interventions in a physical datacenter.
2. Designing for speed and flexibility. Whether during Covid-19 or not, speed is the name of the game. Making software a core competency in your organization should be a strategic priority, and will provide what is needed to evolve your legacy processes into modern application development best practices. Ensure maximum alignment with IT operations to maintain a well oiled DevOps environment. Remember the balancing formula DevOps = people + process + technology. Without DevOps, leveraging the cloud can be costly and inefficient.
3. Don’t forget about consumer privacy and compliance. You’re going to have a lot of customer data, and as a business, you must ensure data is compliant. As regulations change by market, industry and geography, plan to leverage tools like data masking that allow you to be in full compliance from the start. By approaching this requirement early on, you will be able to prevent challenges along the way in your projects. Also, this will take a huge burden off your app development teams—just imagine how much pressure there is on that one teammate who is responsible for safeguarding all customer data through custom scripts.
While we don’t know exactly where this story ends, one thing is for sure: the world will not be returning to its “old normal,” and whether we like it or not, the global pandemic will either transform your business or wipe it out entirely.