Every company is a technology company. Some don’t know it yet. Companies that have truly realized this have been able to evolve much faster than their competition across all industries.
Over the last decade, this shift has been enabled by the rapid evolution of digital technologies. There has been the virtualization of data centers, the emergence of ambient computing, the evolution of elastic computing engines, the pervasiveness of APIs and the rise of the experience economy. Industry leaders have been rolling out these technologies ahead of anyone else.
Through these breakthroughs, numerous transformations have been possible. We’ve seen more personalized customer experiences and faster, nimbler business processes. Entirely new value propositions have emerged. Full supply chains have changed. And the velocity of transactions has accelerated. Ultimately, these have all led to new innovative ways of working and better business outcomes.
Along these transformation journeys, IT and digital, once run separately, are now coming together to drive the next set of transformations. The role of the chief data officer and that of the chief information officer have never been more aligned.
So where do we go from here? What will define enterprise technology in 2020 and beyond?
The New Fundamentals
To reach the next set of quantum leaps in technology and business outcomes, companies will need to go deeper and incorporate three fundamental capabilities into their enterprise technology architectures.
1. Core technology services utilizing new-age capabilities
Increasingly, IT services are taking advantage of serverless computing architectures on the cloud — a foundation of data that can enable greater insights, connected ecosystems that can drive bigger business synergies, and a scalable footprint optimized for agility and business growth.
It’s a journey that many have started and achieved. But for those still using on-premises legacy systems, it’s important to have a clear strategy prior to migration. Plan accordingly by taking into account each application’s complexity, business value, immediate objectives and desired end state. The migration will likely take sequential waves, as some applications may be easier to migrate, while others need recoding or a complete redesign. The security of these applications when running in the cloud is paramount, too, especially with different compliance, privacy and risk considerations between industries.
2. Experience as the North Star
From robotic process automation (RPA) and smart analytics to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, there are digital technologies available now that can automate not only routine, transactional tasks, but also processes that require deeper thinking and judgement. These technologies have the power to redefine applications for the new age, but the best results come only when they are focused on experience.
This starts with envisioning and defining what an optimal experience looks like — one that benefits customers and employees alike. From there, we can determine where and how to implement digital technologies services to get us there, making experience the North Star along our journeys. Banking is an industry that has seen numerous successful experience-led use cases, including chatbots that can assist customers with basic banking tasks and even use predictive analytics to offer financial guidance. For employees, several banks have added AI-powered anomaly detection technology to help with recognizing changes in customer behavior and finding patterns of money laundering or fraud, as well as predictive analytics to anticipate next best actions.
3. Proactive road maps to manage the change
Transformations from previous ways of working and traditional IT services don’t happen overnight. They take methodical approaches. Customer and employee journeys have to be mapped so that they can be reimagined for the better. The desired future state needs to be architected to draw a path to transformation, including the wire frame and business requirements, and those requirements need to be deconstructed into technology. When developing applications, it’s also best to use agile methods with iterative innovation sprints to manage the entire solution delivery.
A good example is one of our customers, an investment bank that wanted to break into the consumer banking market. The bank knew that competing on customer experience would be critical, so it set out to build a digital banking platform. Taking a well-thought approach, it mapped out its customer and contact center agent journeys across products such as personal finance and loans. This helped to draw a road map for development and delivery. Such proactive road maps help manage the change and deliver best outcomes, which for the bank meant a rapid increase in consumer loans.
Domain And Direction
In all of these projects, companies need a strong foundational base: domain knowledge. Only with a deep and pervasive understanding of the business, processes and industry can companies effectively incorporate business requirements, understand and thereby reimagine workflows, and adjust analytics, automation, and AI according to the context of their use. Having this deep understanding is critical to getting technology services right.
Above all, companies need a clear vision for how to execute these new capabilities, including overall operating models, desired business outcomes and industry best practices. Essentially, what shall the business look like in the future? That vision and direction are what propel us forward and drive different outcomes.
There are leading companies today utilizing emerging digital technologies to transform the employee experience across several shared service functions. Domain knowledge of existing processes is critical during early workshops to identify journeys prime for change. From these workshops, a narrow set of technologies can be defined to turn visions into reality. Key to this is designing digital capabilities that can not only deliver, but also suggest and anticipate services.
Ultimately, technology services need to be rooted in a deep understanding of domain and industry context. When these services are simultaneously bound by the ability to reimagine processes and drive desired outcomes, we can unleash the power and potential of new enterprise technologies — in 2020 and beyond.