Organisations today are faced with the need to engage with customers in real time and develop products and solutions dynamically to meet changing requirements writes AJ Hartenberg, portfolio manager for Data Centre Services at T-Systems in South Africa
The challenge lies in the fact that internal systems and IT infrastructure simply cannot keep pace with the demands of the modern business environment. Traditional models of provisioning take weeks or months to deliver the back end systems needed to deliver services, by which time the customer need has already changed, and organisations have lost the competitive edge. Digital transformation to an agile, flexible and above all dynamic model of technology provisioning and service delivery is essential, and key to this is the ability to standardise platforms and processes.
One area where standardisation is a major challenge is within the Application Program Interface (API). Without standardising the routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications within an organisation, creating agility and integration within software development is all but impossible. Typically, an organisation will make use of several different APIs within different areas, creating an additional layer of complexity with regard to provisioning new software solutions. Adding to this complexity, new trends and technologies like big data and advanced analytics require the correct underlying infrastructure and architecture, so standardising on the most appropriate platform becomes essential, as this affects multiple areas including the database.
The key is to first define the business case for any technology solution, including big data. It is essential to firstly understand what the business needs are, before it is possible to determine which platform will enable this most effectively. Only then is it possible to transform and standardise the platform layer. Ultimately, there are two overarching business cases around advanced analytics – either to increase revenue (by adding new products and services) or to decrease cost (by removing unprofitable products and solutions form the portfolio). Often the business case will then inform the platform decision, and increasingly businesses are looking toward cloud-based solutions.