When making decisions about replacing or upgrading business technologies in today’s competitive environment, it is crucial to consider your business strategy and how these technologies will help you adapt to changing market conditions. If the past decade is any indicator of changing marketing conditions, the best way to adapt is to build in flexibility and create your contingency plans through the scalability of IT and adding or adjusting business processes.
Getting ahead of your IT is tough as the rate of technological change is fast. However, these strategic choices will be a key differentiator between you and your competitors in your ability to adapt your rhythm of business with the market demand. For most companies, the rapid change of technology sometimes means that technology drives business decisions, but to make the right decisions it is better for the CIO’s and CTO’s to work together to build a business strategy that uses technology to solve their business problems.
Forrester is seeing a trend that business technologies are being increasingly managed outside of IT’s direct control. The best way to plan for the future and mitigate the risks inherent in being in the technology field is to allow IT to fully respond to the business strategy and implement flexible and adaptable business technologies.
3 Simple Ideas To Create Flexibility From Forrester
- Extra bandwidth or storage that provides a scalability option.
Anytime an organization acquires excess capacity, whether on a server, in a network, or in a storage array, it acquires a scalability option — the ability to quickly increase use of the resource with more transactions from an existing system, or the addition of new functionality.
- Reusable components or extensible layers that add leverage options.
Technology standards, defined service layers, and business process management tools all create the option to change the rate at which new applications are developed or implemented. When you purchase such an option with the adoption of any such standard, you can reduce licensing, integration costs, or testing requirements on future applications.
- Pilot projects and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.
System or application pilots or prototypes represent this type of option. With these options, you reserve the right to cancel, change, or modify the investment prior to the total commitment of funds. The pilot is the creation of the option. Implementing or extending the pilot, if appropriate based on then-current market or business conditions, represents the exercising of the option. Additionally, short-duration contracts with SaaS providers also create the option to abandon a platform, should it prove less valuable than anticipated.
The important thing to realize in the best-case scenario is you’re likely not going to use all of your options. Options are built-in contingency plans designed to adapt to unanticipated changes and act as a form of insurance. The main idea is to be able to act quickly and adjust your business to meet the need of the most important aspect – your customers.
Most technology companies are moving their products to the cloud in order to meet the consumer demand for flexibility in IT. This is due to recent hardware innovations, business need for ubiquitous access across all devices and the extreme cost associated with building and maintaining your own unique environment.
Microsoft Cloud Solutions
Vorsite responded to these needs by adopting Microsoft solutions that deal with the development and proliferation of the concept of the cloud. Windows Azure and Office 365 are the two primary solutions that allow the business strategy to lead the technological decisions and offer the flexibility IT needs to adjust to changing market demands.
Windows Azure works on a pay-per-use basis, allowing businesses to only pay for the services they use when inventing applications. For cost-focused businesses, it gives us all the opportunity to access enterprise-level services but without worrying about reinventing the wheel. Microsoft also took this approach to their business productivity solutions in Office 365, offering businesses the ability to add or remove licenses as needed.
This flexibility also extends into the concept that the cloud, for Microsoft, is not an all or nothing concept. The point of the cloud is to offer businesses flexibility where they need it as it pertains to their business strategy. The cloud is the future, but each business will determine which solutions make the most sense for the overall strategy.
With the future of computing unknown, it’s best to place your bets on what you know to be the right solution that will meet your needs now and in the future. And for CIOs struggling to make a decision with all the hoopla in the news, it’s best to start actively managing the technology that will best serve your business by educating all stakeholders, assigning resources to research the technology and communicate the potential savings and value achieved from its use.
Gliedman, C. (2011, 08 25). CIOs Need To Act As Investment Managers To Best Manage Their Options.Higginbotham, S. (2011, 01 21). Is This the Stealthy Return of Hardware Innovation?Microsoft. (n.d.). Make the cloud yours. Mold it to fit your specific needs. Microsoft. (n.d.). Windows Azure.MSDN. (n.d.). Exercise 3: Creating a Reusable and Extensible Caching Layer.