By Neelesh Kripalani, Senior VP and Head, Clover Infotech
Enterprises globally are facing challenges with their current and future IT investments, starting with OEM cloud subscriptions, platform technologies, and cybersecurity. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and adoption, which has resulted in organisations investing heavily in digital tools and platforms, to build strategic applications for business processes.
The challenge arises when organisations do not have a futuristic vision, or specific strategic objectives linked to their IT. The IT must work as a part of the strategy, and should be involved and included in planning and building business processes, and subsequent outcomes.
With many companies having declared WFH as a permanent mode of work, the problem arises when companies do not have a robust IT infrastructure and team management mandate in place. According to a report on CIO insights, enterprises will focus more spend on enabling project task management and coordination, including employee time trackers (26 per cent), project management systems (23 per cent) and file sharing and management technologies. For companies to be able to ride the second wave of Covid-19, it is imperative for them to think futuristically and focus on the big three of IT infrastructure.
There are three key players that are drivers for change. The platform providers (OEMs), the solution providers (IT partners), and the customer (internal IT team). All of these players play a pivotal role in shaping the future of technology and enhancing the end-user experience. The onus is on the OEM to provide best of breed technology and platform to cater to all business to user requirements. The onus is on the internal IT teams to understand business processes and identify areas of improvement or upgrade. And finally, the onus is on the solutions provider to bridge the gap between the two – leveraging the customer’s investment in the OEM platform and to build solutions that could benefit the customer and create business value.
The OEMs are one of the key players when it comes to building platforms and their capabilities. As an OEM, the main focus is to sell the platform as a product. Their narrative is simple: credit consumption. The more organisations buy platforms, and their peripheral products, the more credits are consumed. But OEMs are struggling with a big challenge – What if there are no use cases, no applications built on these platforms?
OEMs are partnering with solution providers to bridge the gap between platforms and business use cases. Due to the rich expertise from both the technology as well the business experience sides, their objective is to understand customer pain points, and build solutions to seamlessly manage them. They work as the engagement partner, wherein, they take the skeleton (platform) from the OEMs (whichever OEM license the customer might have), and build solutions (web or mobile applications) based on the customer’s business requirement. This leads to enhancement in customer’s IT investments, and builds more value to the end user (business users), as well as the enabler (IT team).
In order to facilitate digital transformation across customers, OEMs must:
- Research and drive the next trend in technology.
- Welcome no-code or low-code environments that can simplify application development.
- Partner with solutions providers to understand use cases that can be built over the platforms.
- Introduce new tools, integration capabilities to enhance end user experience.
- Make provisions for continual improvements based on customer feedback.
Most of the organisations follow the herd strategy when it comes to IT spends. The IT teams invest in best of breed OEMs’ enterprise solutions with licenses and credits, but fail to understand or plan the business use-cases proactively. OEM Platforms are enablers to businesses, and organisations must build business use cases, and plan respective solutions that could be built over these platforms before investing in them.
Organisations must be proactive and plan an IT strategy before making any investment decisions. They must understand that technology keeps evolving and what works for others might or might not work for them. For instance, investing in trending AI and machine learning tools might be beneficial for an insurance conglomerate, but might not work for a local/ regional insurance provider (startup) due to lack of data volume and customer spread.
CIOs must take charge within the organisation to:
- Understand business processes within the organisation – how they work and function, their users, their journey, time taken and their challenges.
- Identify areas of improvement and look for optimisation opportunities. How can IT help in process enhancement?
- Create use-cases for internal / external processes and design a plan of action.
- Identify technologies that can facilitate the action plan.
- Find a relevant IT partner to understand the action plan and convert them into real life solutions.
- Finally, basis partner’s consultation, invest in OEM platforms, and their licenses.
The IT partners, known as the drivers of digital transformation, must take upon themselves to envision the next big thing, find a way to build use-cases and solutions around it, and market it to customers proactively. Due to their engagement with customers in different industries and geographies, they are well-poised to create a data repository to enable faster ‘go-to-market’.
To drive more value from OEMs, and to empower customers, solutions providers (digital consultants) must:
- Research on future trends in technology and identify the next big change.
- Design a plan to welcome the change and how it could benefit existing processes within an organisation.
- Find ways to replicate solutions across customers from different industries and geographies.
- Build relationships with OEMs to facilitate digital transformation.
- Build case-studies, data repository, and assets to become digital consultants and drivers.
- Finally, envision a plan to convert these solutions to SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) based model, with credit-based subscription model, to enable even the remote customers with easy access to digital transformation tools.
Digital transformation is a transition from mechanical processes to digital ones. It facilitates seamlessness across business processes, and enables the end users to optimise their time, and help organisations build redundancies. In conclusion, organisations, along with the OEMs and the solution-providers, must collaborate to become the next driver of change.