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SIs Should Strive for Digital Maturity

SIs Should Strive for Digital Maturity

December 10, 2014 0 Comments

The rapid modernization of business has forced companies to focus on achieving digital maturity. PaaS can be a valuable tool to this end.

Business technology is now out of its adolescence. It’s no longer enough to just have a website for customers and a few internal applications to support sales or marketing. To reach real digital maturity, you must make a commitment to technology as  a driving force in the direction of your organization. Don’t just tip your toes in the water. It’s time to jump in.

The concept of digital maturity is extremely important for systems integrators (SIs). Digitally mature companies do not treat IT as a separate branch of the organization nor do they think of their “digital strategy” as distinct from their business strategy. Technology in a digitally mature company does not exist in a hierarchy—it is a network of interconnected parts, all of which are essential. This kind of fully integrated technological ecosystem is what SIs should strive for with their clients.

Separating the children from the adults

In a traditional, digitally “immature” organization, things are compartmentalized and projects come from the top down. Goals are set; marketing uses their own tools to create leads and sales uses  different tools to follow those leads. An entirely separate team with yet another set of tools takes responsibility for customer experience, and they may or may not have open channels of communication with the other departments. When things are not working smoothly, this structure allows for “not my job” finger pointing that causes business to grind to a halt while the customer is hung out to dry.

The tools of digitally mature companies are multi-purpose and streamlined. They allow the entire organization to take ownership of the customer experience and enable open channels of communication between teams so that everyone involved in a sale stays on the same page. This idea is then extended to customers through streamlined offerings and a focus on being device or channel agnostic so that users can access your offerings by the means that they choose. Data from those outward-facing apps are integrated with data from across the organization in a way that lets sales, marketing, and development teams to quickly respond to customers on their level. Digital maturity means a “flat” (or at least, flatter) organizational structure that allows established companies to behave more like their start-up competition while becoming more customer-focused.

Digital growing pains

It’s important to understand that investing in technology for its own sake does not reflect digital maturity. It is very easy for organizations eager to expand their digital portfolio to simply outsource IT. Buying up tools that are managed by an outside party, however, leads to “shadow IT” which is every bit as ominous as it sounds. If your internal and “shadow” IT departments do not have the same understanding of a problem, you are creating opportunities for the same kind of gridlock you were trying to avoid. Relinquishing control of your tools does not lead to an integrated, digitally mature company—it creates further fragmentation.

You would be better served investing in a cloud platform and building the tools you need on that. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, then you already know that our platform as a service, Progress® Pacific™, is built with the intention of leveraging your existing technology while providing a path for rapid modernization. It provides a solid foundation for business and consumer apps that can be developed in hours rather than weeks through its visual programming environment. At the same time, data integration is baked in so you can start responding to users immediately. Tools like platform as a service (PaaS) are intended to be usable by even non-technical staff, so they provide a great starting point for organizations interested in becoming more integrated and improving their digital maturity.

Paul Nashawaty

As the senior director of product marketing and strategy for the Progress solutions and audience marketing team, Paul Nashawaty keeps his eyes peeled on what enterprises are doing about big data as it relates to digital transformation. Paul is responsible for applying practical business methodologies using technological solutions to drive success in organizations.

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