I recently had an interesting conversation with an IT leader of a large retailer, where he said “I’m looking for a new Big Data Cloud platform to do real-time retail operations driven by data analytics. What are my options? I want to get at least five years out of whatever I pick.”
While his intentions were good, I suggested for him to change his priorities. If there is one thing we can count on, it’s the fact that we are living in a time where change is happening faster than we can keep up with. In five years, the technology landscape will look very different from what it does today. So, let’s focus on solving your problems of today, while being flexible enough in its design to accommodate future changes.
There Is a Disruption Wave
As we reflect on the recent global events – president-elect Donald Trump in the U.S, Brexit and the demonetization drive in India – people and businesses that are capable of adapting and evolving will be better positioned for success while others who fail to act, will be left behind.
We are entering a world where tech innovations, reverse-globalization, and access to information have a big impact on the way people think and behave. Past experiences can no longer guide us on this journey as the rate of change far exceeds the magnitude of change itself. Complexity and uncertainty are inherent in this era of disruption with parallels to how every industry is being disrupted by technology.
Similar to the strong anti-establishment wave in politics, there is a wave of disintermediation of IT in business. We are in a time of rapid tech innovation leading to, for example, the Uberization of services/products.
New Age Tech Companies Are Eating Your Lunch
Tech-first, mobile-first businesses are threatening leaders of established enterprises, thus forcing them to conceive new business models relying on technology innovations. Traditional IT partners are not prepared for this, resulting in business operating pseudo-IT and employees/teams bypassing IT using cloud services for a faster time to market.
As part of the tech community, I look at this as an opportunity to bridge these gaps. Our solutions should be built with an eye to the rapid rate of tech innovation and focus the CX/UX to cover all segments of the population. This is an important nuance which often gets overlooked.
We should bring the “nobody left behind” thought process into the solutions we design, while looking forward to leveraging tech innovations.
A Business Service design that should:
- Use a test, measure and learn approach
- Have CX designed to fit the journey of every segment (it is not about focusing on only the top segments, addressing all segments in iterations)
- Work across all channels (web, mobile, SMS, phone support)
A Tech platform that should:
- Enable you to be agile and pivot based on learning
- Be designed to have a layered/API architecture
- Look ahead, accommodate future options as integration points or replacement components
This is not easy and requires a very different mindset. Are you ready?