Category: Digital Transformation

You Need to Rethink Your Mainframe Strategy in Today’s Digital World | Blog

The demise of the mainframe has been predicted every year over the past decade. With digital and cloud transformation becoming the enterprise norm, the death-knell has been getting louder. But, for multiple reasons, mainframes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

For example, they are designed for efficiency and allow enterprises to run complex computations in a compact infrastructure with high utilization levels. They receive regular updates that can be applied without any business disruption, making them easily expandable and upgradable. The latest mainframes work well with mobile applications, which are becoming the norm across industries. And the fact that mainframes host some of enterprises’ most critical production data has created somewhat of a lock-in situation.

Despite mainframes’ staying power, a variety of factors – including 1) difficulty integrating mainframe-housed data with the rest throughout the enterprise; 2) the shrinking number of IT professionals who understand mainframes’ architectural complexities; and 3) mainframes’ lack of agility – can prevent enterprises from excelling in today’s digital environment.

Levers Enterprises Can Pull to Maximize Their Mainframe Value

With these issues in mind, some enterprises think they should eliminate mainframes completely from their technology environment. But that’s not the best route to take in the short- to medium-term. Rather, by embracing the best of mainframes and digital technologies, they can gain on operational costs and capital invested and realize business flexibility and agility without a loss of continuity or high mainframe efficiency levels.

Our Recommendations on How You Can Achieve Maximum Value from Your Mainframes

Mainframe upgrades – The latest mainframe releases mimic the benefits offered by the cloud. If you haven’t upgraded to the newest release, you should consider doing so now.

Phased retiring of applications – For applications that can work as effectively on the cloud as on mainframes, you should develop new ones on the cloud and slowly phase out the old ones from your mainframe. This approach will avoid business disruptions and help you quickly build new services while still being able to access real-time mainframe data.

Mainframe-as-a-Service (MaaS) –If you’re looking to go asset light, you can adopt MaaS, wherein your existing mainframe assets are transferred to a services provider. In these arrangements, you’ll be charged on an actual consumption basis if you meet a minimum volume commitment. You’ll gain the most value from MaaS when you use it in conjunction with phased retiring of applications, because it will allow you to gain the benefits of a consumption model while preparing your cloud environment in parallel.

Automated migration to modern tech stacks – Multiple tools and services are available to migrate a legacy stack (such as COBOL-based) to a newer stack (such as Java-based or .Net-based,) in an automated fashion. Given the variety of mainframe languages, databases, and infrastructure technologies going into the migration, you should always adopt a custom migration approach.

Wrapper approaches – In the short-term, instead of migrating away from your mainframe, you can augment it with agile data services that enable data interoperability with the rest of your infrastructure. You can also run emulators on the cloud and host legacy application code with minimum changes.

Mainframes are far from dead and will continue to form the backbone of many large enterprises in the near future. However, to excel in today’s digital world, you need to reconsider your mainframe strategy to get the best of all emerging digital technologies. Of course, there is no one size fits all solution. So, you’ll need to take a customized approach, combining the various transformation levers that are most applicable to your enterprise’s unique situation.

How do you think mainframes will fare in the digital world? Please share your thoughts with me at [email protected].

Digital Transformation: 3 Change Management Mistakes to Avoid | Blog

Change can be painful for companies and individuals. But if you are undergoing a digital transformation, there’s simply no getting around it. In fact, the degree of change is greater, and there is a cascading set of consequences for these deep changes, which each require their own change management.

At Everest Group, executives often ask us, “What is the most effective change-management tool or method for driving the necessary change in transformation?” Answering that question, I first point out two hard truths:
Executives cause their own problems with change management – often in three key areas – that make their efforts to drive change ineffective. As a result, they encounter big, expensive problems and passive-aggressive behaviors that delay achieving the objectives or even cause the transformation initiative to fail.

People don’t change unless they want to.

Read my article in The Enterprisers Project

DXC Technology Changes CEO | Blog

There is a “changing of the guard” at DXC Technology. Mike Salvino is now President and Chief Executive Officer and succeeds Mike Lawrie, who served as DXC’s Chairman, President and CEO. The change in leadership is happening at one of the last US national champions of the services industry. This move will be viewed with interest in many of the largest US and global firms, as DXC is a strategic partner to many of the Fortune Global 500 companies. Here’s what you need to know about the challenges and opportunities DXC and Salvino now face.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Digital Transformation Success Is NOT Rooted in Technology | Blog

Here’s a sobering fact: Everest Group research found that 78 percent of enterprises fail in their digital transformation initiatives. Failure here can mean multiple things, including unsustainable returns, lack of user adoption, or, even worse, abandoned projects.

The following picture illustrates one of the key reasons they’re failing. What is it?

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It’s a Steaming Pile of Technology – what we call a SPOT. And, unfortunately, it’s where most organizations start their digital transformation journey.

Why do I say unfortunately? The truth is that a technology-led approach won’t enable you to achieve the business value you expect from your digital transformation initiative. Indeed, as you see in our holistic, interconnected Digital Success Model, technology is only one of eight components that you need to get right to succeed.

02 1

Let’s take a quick look at all eight components, which we categorize under strategy and solution.

The strategy

With so much at stake, you have to begin your digital transformation journey by defining where you want to go and how you’ll get there. The four critical strategy components you must address at the very onset are:

Vision
This must clearly and concisely cover what you specifically want to achieve in both the short- and long-term. For example, is the initiative to drive revenues, cut costs, improve customer experience, extend competitive advantage, be compliant? The objective functions will fundamentally dictate your digital transformation journey’s “rate of spin.”

Economics
Typical funding models don’t work in digital transformation programs because they focus on achieving ROI in a short timeframe. Instead, you need to establish the right budget centers in the to-be-transformed business and functional unit/s, and the right funding mechanism – CapEx versus OpEx. Additionally, you should put in place funding gates to ensure your business objectives are met during interim check-points.

Organization and cultural
We consider organizational culture and change management the most important element of the digital strategy model. In order to succeed, you must create an empowered, cross-functional journey team that aligns the C-suite, business stakeholders, and IT stakeholders. Emphasis on agility, risk tolerance, and decision-making speed and flexibility are key. And to make sure your new culture takes hold and sticks, you need to adequately budget both time and money for a comprehensive change program.

Performance and governance
As management guru Peter Drucker said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” To effectively manage the success of your digital transformation journey, you need to identify and measure metrics that tie back to your vision. You also need to establish interim milestones for these metrics to track progress, allocate funding, and drive any needed course correction. Many enterprises find that investing in a digital transformation Program Management Office can help them handle performance and governance on the operational, tactical, and strategic levels.

The solution

Once you have your strategy in place, you can move on to shaping the solution.

Technology
When selecting your technology, a “one-off, one and done” approach may deliver very short-term spurts of success, but it won’t deliver sustained business value. To achieve ongoing success, you need to embrace a platform-based operating model as the foundation for your digital transformation journey. What we call a Digital Capability Platform helps you look at all your users – your employees, your customers, and your partners – in the context of all the technological enablers to drive the customer experience, decisions, process efficiency, and scalability and performance.

Talent
The best strategy, funding mechanisms, technology, etc., can’t deliver to your expectations if you don’t have the right talent. Indeed, your ability to compete in the digital era depends on having the right talent, at the right time, in the right places. You need to prioritize using an elaborate sourcing ecosystem to find the talent you need today, and establish a robust resource management program to help you plan for future skill requirements.

Data
Not surprisingly, data is a key enabler of your digital transformation success. Consider this: our research found that 100 percent of successful enterprises use digital initiatives to collect data and perform analytics for better insights that drive better outcomes, and 94 percent use some form of data and analytical solutions to augment their strategic decision-making. You need to be able to convert your existing volumes of data into a high-quality, actionable enterprise asset to achieve longer-term digital transformation success.

Ecosystem and sourcing
And finally, digital transformation cannot happen within the boundaries of your organization, or even the boundaries of the industry in which you operate. By partnering with start-ups, academia, government, tech vendors, staffing companies, transformation partners, orchestrators, and peers, you can unlock breakthrough value from your digital efforts.

This full-scale realignment of your digital strategy and solution ecosystem is challenging and can feel overwhelming. But it’s critical to your short- and long-term success. Our IT and digital transformation membership offering can help. To learn more, please click here.

Why Your Business Needs to Master Digital Platforms Thinking and Design | Blog

In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, every company whether they realize it or not, is creating multiple digital platforms. Why? Because platforms transcend traditional value chains and enable companies to create new business value. What this really means is companies are moving away from processes to platforms to create competitive advantages. The top 10 Fortune 500 companies are platform companies (Apple, Facebook, Google and Salesforce, for example). Moving forward, companies that master platform thinking and design will be the champions. Such is the power of this new way of thinking that most if not all firms are in the process of assembling and refining., If you and your company are to fully benefit from them, you need to understand why this is happening and how you can take advantage of it.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Why Digital Transformations Fail: 3 Exhausting Reasons | Blog

A whopping 73 percent of enterprises failed to provide any business value whatsoever from their digital transformation efforts, according to an Everest Group study last year. Furthermore, 78 percent failed to meet their business objectives. Put another way, only 22 percent achieved their desired business results. This is horrific. Why does this happen?

While there are many causes of failure or underdelivering expected value in digital transformation, one that can be avoided is digital transformation exhaustion – the fatigue that happens due to continuous change.

Read more in my blog on Enterprisers Project

Digital Transformation Success Depends on an Agile Approach to Change | Blog

The principles and practices of the agile movement are quickly moving beyond the IT department and into how firms run their day-to-day business. This new way of organizing and running business gains further impetus by the headlong rush to use digital transformation to gain competitive advantage, which often requires changing a company’s operating model through many iterative steps known as a journey. Using the agile approach, they minimize risks and can validate that their efforts are meeting the desired outcome as they move forward on their journey. Unfortunately, many companies see these benefits of an agile approach, but they struggle to do that. What are they missing?

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Digital Talent Shortage Driving Need For Offshore Talent | Blog

There is a clear talent shortage in the US, and this is particularly true of specialized skills (engineering and IT), which are at the center of the competitiveness of the US economy. The current Administration is intensifying this skills shortage by restricting companies’ ability to import talent through H-1B visas. The unintended consequence of the Administration’s strategies to constrict offshore workers is that the skills shortage is forcing US companies to go back offshore for the necessary talent.

Read my article in Forbes

 

 

Four Guidelines for Success in Innovation in Digital Transformation | Blog

A problem afflicts many companies undertaking transformation: they aren’t ready for innovation. But they need innovation to change their competitive positioning in the market. Today, many companies want their IT organizations to partner with the business to create opportunities for innovation and supportive services that drive transformation. And they look to their procurement chief or sourcing organization to ensure that any services they buy support innovation. How important is this? It’s critical. In fact, how your company leverages its IT organization and sourcing organization is a determinant of success in digital transformation.

I talked recently with Gopi Suri, an executive who has a background of successfully positioning IT organizations to be more transformational in nature to support their company’s business. Suri shared with me his four guidelines for a successful outcome in digital transformation.

Read my blog on Forbes

Managing Services: A More Effective Approach | Blog

In a recent blog post, I explained that companies need to reconceive their services as an evolving journey and need to rethink how they manage services. That’s because services are becoming more strategic in a digital environment and require ongoing commitment and focus to ensure they deliver on their promise. Their evolving nature makes services a cascading change management challenge that remains as long as the service remains. One of the most difficult aspects that companies struggle with is how to build conviction and sustain momentum that they are successfully moving toward delivering value in the services.

Read my blog in Forbes

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