Business today is all about digital transformation. And if yours isn’t, it should be.
That said, if yours isn’t, you’re also not alone. As HBR.com reports in a recent article, there’s a new digital divide opening up in America. Nearly every individual, company and sector of the economy now has access to digital technologies — there are hardly any “have-nots” anymore. But a widening gap exists between the “haves” and a group we call the “have-mores:” companies and sectors that are using their digital capabilities far more than the rest to innovate and transform how they operate.
The key phrase there is digital capabilities. For business success is about having access to the resources you need when you need them. Software built with personalization and the business in mind can help. However, as fast as business and tech change, software must be adaptable, too. Platforms and rapid development environments are able to power this when coupled with the cloud. Companies need to be able to develop quickly the apps they need today and they need accessibility to the tools to change those application and software profiles rapidly as their business needs change.
As we see the rapid migration to software, we are also seeing a subtle yet compelling movement away from hardware. If you are familiar with Moore’s Law, it basically states (or has stated, as you will see) that computer power doubles every two years at the same cost. Well, surprise surprise—the theories behind Moore’s Law are beginning to run out of steam.
So while Moore’s Law begins to slow, other technologies are beginning to advance at an even greater pace. The good news? In the past, the industry-wide reliance on the principles of Moore’s Law—the relentless doubling and redoubling of computing power—meant there was less of an incentive to experiment with other sorts of improvement, so companies would often take the “wait for the next chip” approach and then hope they could improve their software on faster, more robust hardware. However, with hardware hitting its tipping point, adaptable software and the cloud, have arrived to help fill the gap. To remain relevant in the age of digital transformation, companies will need to have the resources to develop apps they need today – and the tools to change applications and software profiles as rapidly as their business needs change.
Don’t rely on hardware to drive innovation
As hardware became increasingly sophisticated, software developers worked to create applications that would test the limits of current chips. The capacity of a chip defined what software could do, but it also meant a limit to available storage.
Today, we’re reaching the physical limit to the number of transistors that can be placed on the current microprocessor chips without causing the chip to malfunction. Rather than innovating the hardware and letting software follow, researchers are reversing the trend and focusing on designing software and systems that don’t depend on new hardware.
The takeaway for businesses is that investing too much in cutting-edge hardware may not be the best tactic. As we move away from the era of Moore’s Law, it’s becoming more important to focus on business-savvy software applications and cloud platforms that can make use of existing technology. Look for software that help make data and business functions more actionable, and use the cloud to make it cheaper and easier to access.
Businesses today are turning to the cloud and agile software development to expand upon their platforms and build tools that create more dynamic enterprises. While historically, companies have run separate ERP, accounting, CRM and collaboration software, we are now seeing these technologies being brought together under a single platform, and through agile development we are seeing these disparate tools become seamless in their usability. Take the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Companies like Genband use it for collaboration, integration with their CRM applications, and to build out a self-service portal to improve customer service and experience.
Consider the greatest challenges of your organization. Whether it is access to customer data or the ability to execute on a new sales strategy, the ability to leverage your company’s entire data history along with aggregated public data from across the web is now possible, and it can drive insights right to the desk of your sales team. And this isn’t a complex algorithm that requires an experienced data scientist (although that may help). This is the power of embracing software development in the cloud.
Develop business agility to maximize growth
Before the digital revolution, larger companies were able to corner the market. Because of rapid changes in structure and operations that accompany new technology, however, agility – the ability to rapidly adapt to market changes – is the new quality that predicts business success. In fact, 70 percent of the companies on the Fortune 1000 list in 2003 were gone by 2013 – a direct result of companies that failed to innovate and pivot with the changing times.
The important thing for established enterprises and growth stage companies to note is that the power of cloud and agile development is to help your business digitally transform. Large companies must speed up transformation because smaller businesses are figuring out how to compete.
With the cloud being adaptable, scalable, and cost-effective, it creates endless potential for leveraging technology to run more efficiently and effectively while getting maximum value out of your existing technology investment. For the enterprise that has substantial investment in a platform, the power of agile development in the cloud is that change no longer requires you to scrap everything and start over. Instead, you are able to rapidly develop custom applications that can drive greater productivity. And this can exist across the enterprise, whether apps for human resources, marketing, or customer experience.
The cloud also makes for a much more streamlined enterprise. Consume only what you want, and never more than you need. Change and shift rapidly, and put your organization in the best position to continue to grow even in the most competitive markets.
Prepare for change with functional, adaptable software and the cloud
Just last month, I discussed how crucial the cloud is for small businesses, but really your business size doesn’t matter; it’s just as important for global corporations. Regardless of your size and changes in the rate of hardware innovation, there’s no stopping the progress of technology. The pace may vary, and different aspects of technology may take the forefront while others take a back seat, but the end result will be change, and that change will affect all industries.
Focusing your business’s technology efforts on adaptable software systems and strategic use of the cloud will allow your business to update technology as needed, while still providing anytime, anywhere access to the resources you need.