Digital Technology
Aug 23, 2018

Digital business technology platform: key ingredient to enable digital business

CEOs' priorities are shifting to digital. Recent research indicates the biggest priority for most CEOs is to drive higher revenue growth, and they expect new digital business initiatives to help them accomplish it. However, IT leaders need to ensure their infrastructure is flexible, agile and can scale to support this growth. This post describes how a digital business technology platform is key to helping your enterprise progress your digital transformations and provides recommended next steps. 

Many enterprises aspire to become digital businesses, and Gartner states that digital business technology platforms are fundamental to scaling a digital business. According to Gartner, digital business technology platforms have these attributes: 

  • Progressively integrate legacy IT systems with multiple new technologies over time
  • Build incrementally to match an enterprise's specific digital ambition 
  • Support building and interacting with partner ecosystems to realize network effects 
  • Exploit newfound agility while demonstrating ability to run continuously and scale

Since each enterprise is different in terms of your digital aspirations, existing IT landscape, investment strategies, and other industry-specific elements, it is not possible to buy an off-the-shelf digital business technology platform. It must be built. Digital business technology platforms connect the enterprise's past (e.g., legacy IT systems) to its future (e.g., new technologies like machine learning and AI) in a flexible, build-as-you-go manner. 

To pursue digital business, enterprises basically have two approaches: optimization and transformation. Optimization is about improving your operations, while transformation is about changing how you add value for your customers. Digital business technology platforms must enable both approach.

Improve your operations

Digital business technology platforms enable enterprises to leverage advanced technologies to optimize their existing business processes and create greater efficiencies. The primary business driver is typically cost reduction and improvements in customer satisfaction.

Enterprise business processes are often automated through robotic process automation (RPA) investments, and then progress to include greater analytics and AI investments. Digital business technology platforms should facilitate these optimization investments while enabling greater scale and digital workforce governance.

Transform how you create value

Rather than improving your existing operations, transforming how you create value is about creating new business models and/or changing the way your enterprise does business. It is about finding ways to leverage digital technologies to make your company more competitive or even disruptive.

Digital business technology platforms are necessary to achieve the needed scale within digital business models. These new business models typically leverage automation, analytics and AI technologies to create DigitalOps to deliver their end customer's brand experience. Today's leaders are separating themselves from the pack through their ability to deliver winning customer experiences, and digital business technology platforms are a key enabler.

Next steps

  • Learn more about digital business technology platforms and the service providers who can help you. Remember that effective digital transformation relies on technology, people, and processes, so digital business technology platforms harness all that they have to offer today, while leveraging the built-in modularity needed for changes tomorrow.
  • Review each business process that will operationalize your digital transformation and select the automation approach and expertise needed to deliver the expected business outcomes. Remember there are no “silver bullets." No single digital transformation technology vendor can provide everything you need in a single solution.
  • Stand on the shoulders of giants. That is, your digital business technology platform must have an open architecture to leverage the partner ecosystem, such as advanced technologies from giants like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, as well as from start-ups. And it must be able to integrate with your legacy IT systems.
  • Ensure your digital business technology platform is modularly built for the future. It needs to not only act intelligently in real-time, scale, and provide governance, but also to learn and improve along the way – all while delivering winning customer experiences. Digital business technology platforms make this possible.
  • Begin with the end in mind. Taking a strategic perspective will help you look beyond the next “shiny technology." Always start with the business objectives, then view the digital business technology platform as an agile vehicle to help you change processes, tactics, and directions through your transformation journey. 

About the author

Dan Glessner

Dan Glessner

Vice President, Digital

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