In 2011, the world’s largest purveyor of books wasn’t a traditional bookseller. It was a software company called Amazon. And not only did Amazon build an incredibly innovative software engine for selling books online, they also developed digital versions of the books they sold. In doing so, Amazon and the Kindle readers they created transformed how people across the globe buy and read books. While this was happening, Borders, the 40-year-old chain that helped define the age of the book superstore, was wrestling with impending bankruptcy.
Borders isn’t the only once-lauded business disrupted by the power of software and technology. Blockbuster went belly up as well. Their rival Netflix — also a software savant — used their enviable engineering prowess and a subscription-based selling model to reinvent how movies and TV shows are distributed and watched. Soon it would become a worldwide streaming entertainment sensation.
Transformation is the true promise of technology. Today, everyone from entrepreneurs to enterprise executives is looking to leverage technology to enact change. They seek to optimize an aspect of daily life as we know it, or automate time-intensive manual processes. The biggest thinkers among us focus on bringing to market a product or service that nobody knew they wanted but now can’t live without — as was the case with Amazon and Netflix.
The pace of innovation has reached head-spinning speeds over the last decade, and the global pandemic sped it up even more. Providers of online shopping, food delivery, and telehealth, for example, all worked around the clock to figure out how to deploy new infrastructure in the cloud in order to meet the surge in demand for their services. And they did it. Likewise, business leaders had to figure out how to keep their knowledge workers connected and productive during the sudden shift to remote work that started with stay-at-home-mandates. Now, most office workers want work-from-home flexibility moving forward, and teams are once again turning to technology to reimagine the future of work.
Opportunities and Obstacles of Transformation
The ability to transform is the true promise of technology, but it’s people who turn that promise into action. The perception that harnessing the power of technology to create meaningful change is easier today than ever before? Incorrect.
Here are three reasons whydelivering on the promise of technology today is in many ways harder than ever before:
1. Complexity can be overwhelming
Twenty-five years ago, even the most robust applications required no more than two servers and two discrete programs. Today we have application layers, integration points, APIs, Source Code Management, deployment pipelines, SQL databases, time-series databases, business processes that trigger software events, compliance requirements…the list goes on and on. Environments are intertwined, hyperconverged, and interrelated.
Organizations are also running more disparate types of applications that each come with their unique infrastructure requirements. For example, many of the companies whom we work with want to shift their operations from data centers to the public cloud, but still rely heavily on legacy apps that can’t easily be lifted and moved to public cloud provider platforms. As a result, it often makes sense for them to remain in an on-premises data center or in a private cloud.
Innovation creates opportunity for sure, but it also creates complexity that can be challenging to navigate. Customers need practical, pragmatic strategies and infrastructure solutions that can help them modernize applications, data, and business processes to solve their challenges and unlock new growth opportunities.
2. Finding the right fit is challenging
Everyone wins when technology works, but knowing which technologies to use for which type of task can be just as difficult as knowing how to implement and operate them.
Consider cybersecurity, which is a top-of-mind concern for all organizations. According to findings from an IBM analysis, the average enterprise has over 80 security products in play, and frequently security teams and technologies are siloed, preventing them from working together. This makes it nearly impossible to get the comprehensive visibility across the organization that is needed to fully protect it. Teams need to change traditional security models that do not scale to meet the needs of complex, borderless networks, but many are overwhelmed and don’t know how to start or where to move forward.
3. Technology expertise is in short supply
Developer skills shortages are at an all-time high. Organizations of all sizes and maturity levels are struggling to attract and retain the expertise they need. According to a study from IDC, more than 50% of technology leaders say that the skills gap is the biggest hurdle in their digital transformation journey.
Building cloud-native applications, leveraging artificial intelligence, and managing multi-cloud environments requires highly specialized and disparate skill sets that are both expensive and hard to find. No single individual can wrap their mind around all that technology, which means organizations have to reimagine how they structure and staff their teams, and how they work with outside partners if they want to drive business as opposed to simply supporting it.
Transformation Strategies for Success
Digital transformation is a journey, and not an easy one. This is why many enterprises rely on third parties to be trusted advisors who can guide them every step of the way — from strategy to execution to evolution. But not every technology partner is created equal, nor are the solutions they provide.
Here’s how we deliver on the promise of technology at Deft:
Combining passion with pragmatism and proficiency
Delivering on the promise of technology starts by surrounding yourself with people passionate about technology and what it can do, yet realize technology itself is a means, not an end.
At Deft, we design, build, operate, secure, and scale unique technology solutions that enable our clients to better enable their businesses. We leverage our experience and expertise to meet clients where they are on their modernization journey, and help them fast-forward toward reaching their goals, whatever they may be. We call it humanizing technology. As trusted advisors, it’s our job to provide customers with unbiased guidance on the most effective way to reach goals, even if it isn’t necessarily what they want to hear.
Whether it’s to bring a new product or service to market or to find a new way to solve an old problem, digital transformation demands close and continual collaboration with both business analysts and technology leaders with expertise across the expansive ecosystem.
Organizations need to change how they think and operate to see results. And with so many highly specialized tools and applications, no one person or team has all the answers. At Deft, we’re not just committed to collaboration — we demand it. Our clients come to the table with unique perspectives, and we incorporate their insights and experiences into our approach. We know that the more we engage with our clients and work together to find creative solutions to their problems, the more we learn and grow.
Investing in transformation
While today’s technology can fundamentally change the way businesses operate and deliver value to their customers, realizing these opportunities requires intentional and ongoing investment in transformation. In fact, according to a May 2021 survey of CEOs and senior executives by Gartner, 83% of CEOs plan to increase investments in digital capabilities this year compared to 2020 funding levels.
From a technology perspective, no company is too big or small to become complacent. This is why Deft has a focused approach for ensuring we stay at least one step ahead. We’re investing in research and development, providing our team with regular learning experiences, and transforming our capabilities and offerings so we can remain on the edge of innovation.