Information technology generates almost infinite business opportunities. But this sea of possibilities can quickly become worrying for companies that are not already at the forefront of technological advances. This is an exciting yet also concerning situation for business leaders.
In fact, almost half admit they do not know what their industry will look like in three years and are afraid of becoming obsolete within the next 3 to 5 years. More disconcerting, 3/4 of managers feel threatened by digital startups.¹
Major challenges for businesses
This high level of uncertainty is symptomatic of many concerns related to technological change. Among those:
• Changing customer expectations;
• The ability to gain and maintain customer confidence;
• Loss of current market shares;
• The ability to reach new markets;
• The required acceleration in time to market;
• Costs associated with market entry;
• Infrastructure obsolescence;
• Fast pace of technological advances
In fact, these concerns reflect three major challenges faced by businesses that operate with a more traditional IT.
1. Traditional IT is a cost centerFor most businesses, 70% of the IT team's work is to keep the lights on. That is, it is essentially cyclical maintenance, replacement and deployment work. IT resources are overwhelmed and time spent on innovation projects is clearly insufficient.
2. Traditional IT is no longer able to keep up with the pace of business
The lack of time devoted to the development of new services leads to a second challenge: the inability to meet the new demands of the business world. Application life cycles measured in months or even years and compartmentalized infrastructures deprive managers of an overview of their technological performance. A discrepancy that too often affects the customer experience in a world that nevertheless requires constant availability.
3. IT is becoming more and more complex and difficult to manageThe multiplication of new technologies, lack of resources and expertise and time constraints make IT vulnerable. The introduction of new technologies, disaster resilience and the ability to generate new business opportunities are therefore extremely limited.
The solutionsFortunately, all these challenges are not insurmountable. Several solutions are available to business leaders to optimize IT resources and generate business gains.
1. Modernize the Data Center
Simplify the infrastructure by rethinking IT. This allows you to work faster while saving costs.
2. Automate IT processesImplement an integrated, ready-to-use infrastructure solution that operates like a public cloud.
3. Transform the role of ITFocus the IT team on business innovations by outsourcing the day-to-day management of infrastructure. This allows an optimal allocation of internal and external expertise, better efficiency, lower costs and a reduction in disaster risks.
The 5 responsibilities of IT leaders to overcome these challenges
The IT leader of a company is the best person to implement these types of solutions and to lead a successful digital transformation. His deep understanding of the current state of technology, his ability to anticipate new developments and his familiarity with current business processes make him the ideal ally to support the digital decisions of management. A well-informed CIO will ensure that its company remains an IT leader by:
1. Putting in place a research and development department or an innovation laboratory
This structure makes it possible to better align IT resources with the imperatives of management, to experiment with emerging technologies, to act as an incubator of innovative ideas, while limiting risks.
2. Putting in place a center of excellence to channel and group together key competencies
This helps to highlight and encourage best practices, accelerate the development of solutions and pass them on to the rest of the company.
3. Thinking of interfaces with a simple and attractive design for the userThis increases customer satisfaction, but also reduces technical support costs. In addition, the more a company is "user-friendly", the stronger its relationship with its customers.
4. Thinking mobilityIt is an imperative to remain competitive. Employees can work from anywhere; which increases productivity.
5. Thinking about fluidity of operations
The aim is to optimize stakeholder engagement, to better predict costs and delivery times, to focus on customers and to improve overall quality of service.
With the complexity of the challenges that companies face, IT leaders are at the forefront, as technology is at the heart of the transformations required to adapt. Of course, these leaders must be able to develop a deep and strategic understanding of the issues, but they must also surround themselves with the appropriate resources, internal or external, to meet these challenges and lead the business to the next level of maturity.