Tag: Digital Transformation

Post-COVID-19 Recovery: A Technological Reform | Blog

COVID-19 has revealed some crippling inadequacies to enterprises across the globe. With employees locked down in their homes, manufacturing processes on hold, warehouse facilities inaccessible, and supply chains at a standstill, businesses are facing an undeniable economic crisis. This downtime has made them question their underlying business models, operating methodologies, and, most importantly, their tech investments. An overarching question that also looms large is: What will a post-pandemic business ecosystem look like, and how can enterprises and service partners be better prepared for it?

The 2008 financial crisis was a wake-up call for businesses around the world, and was accompanied by new financial governance structures, steps to ensure transparent and efficient decision-making, and large-scale legislative reforms. In contrast, COVID-19 is expected to usher in massive technological reforms. We already see early signs of enterprises preparing for the future by leveraging technologies not only to address current requirements but also to build a strong foundation for the post-pandemic ecosystem.

Let’s take a look at some areas where technology is being leveraged to respond in radically newer ways.

Next normal – virtual experiences

Imagine taking your kids to a safari, or attending a concert in London, or test driving a car, all of this while you are in self-quarantine at home. Virtual tours, virtual resource-sharing, and even virtual personalities and friends are likely to become routine, compelling enterprises to rethink their business models. Customer interactions and customers’ expectations from brands will also change dramatically, requiring enterprises to design innovative solutions and new experiences, and ensure their seamless delivery. Technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) offer enterprises exciting opportunities to address these needs. Service partners will play a critical role in helping enterprises understand customers’ evolved expectations, visualize future demand themes, re-design virtual customer journeys, and build the required technological assets.

Cross-industry collaborations

Amid the lockdown and uncertainty across the globe, technology platform-based businesses seem to fit like pieces in a puzzle. Think about food and grocery delivery businesses or content delivery platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, or even social media platforms such as Facebook. As users get more comfortable with technology and use it increasingly to meet varying needs, the treasured data gathered across platforms will also pave the way for cross-industry collaborations. For instance, secured access to customers’ virtual profiles can enable insurance firms to design personalized products based on lifestyle and preferences. Similarly, travel and tourism businesses can identify target customers and offer them curated solutions based on their preferences identified by converging insights across these platforms. These changes will usher in a new wave of innovation, driving seamless interactions, deeper customer insights, personalized marketing, and new business opportunities. Service partners will be trusted with the critical role of catalyst, which can onboard various stakeholders, enable seamless integration of diverse systems, and facilitate value realization for all entities involved.

Business continuity planning

Many technology firms are already supporting enterprises with solutions to ensure business continuity. For instance, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and ServiceNow are enabling collaboration, file sharing, and data sharing with flexible payment options to support their enterprise customers. And Cisco, Dell, Nutanix, and many others are offering free-to-use solutions or adopting creative financial models such as deferred payments and lower initial payments to facilitate business continuity for customers. This is, in turn, helps their clients build brand equity, which is likely to pay off in the long term. These firms are “doing good by doing well,” essentially responding with much-needed solutions. Increasingly, service partners will be expected to bring about changes in their engagement, delivery, and commercial models to address the challenges confronting their clients.

While businesses are still trying to fully grasp what it will take to survive and thrive post-pandemic, we can say one thing for sure: an astute understanding of customer needs, coupled with the right technological assets, proper governance, and a structured investment approach will help prepare enterprises for the world we encounter on the other side of the pandemic.

If you are looking to understand the evolving business ecosystem and a roadmap for how you can prepare your organization better for growth post-pandemic, please write to me at: [email protected].

COVID-19 Business Crisis Proves Automation Matters | Blog

Consider what’s now happening at companies that made investments in automation and moving work to the cloud. They’re doing better than others in the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re more flexible under trying conditions. They’re more resilient to challenges. They are a bright spot in this awful crisis. The pandemic showed what companies invested in as preparation for challenges. Unfortunately, it also exposed companies that were less prepared. As I mentioned in my prior blog, the pandemic was like what Warren Buffet described as the tide going out, exposing naked swimmers. One fact that the COVID-19 crisis exposed is that automation matters.

Read my blog on Forbes

Confusing Predicament For Businesses In COVID-19 Crisis | Blog

The stakes for businesses have rarely been as high as they are now. The global pandemic is upending companies’ existing mindsets, strategies and investments. It’s leading to new decisions about actions and strategies that must occur at the same time but appear contradictory. This causes a lot of confusion for people in enterprises as well as the enterprise vendors. The contradictions and confusion can fuel tensions.

What’s the remedy for this predicament? Before I answer that question, it’s important to understand the underlying factors driving the predicament.

Read my blog on Forbes

Successful Digital Transformation Starts with a True Understanding of Processes | In the News

Digital Intelligence empowers enterprises to make a tremendous impact where it matters most: customer experience, competitive advantage, visibility, and compliance.

The latest Everest Group Process Mining Products PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2020 illustrates that traditional process mining has deep roots among data professionals and automation leaders, but the Process Intelligence approach is gaining momentum – especially with the impact of stay at home orders, social distancing, and economic uncertainty. Business leaders need to have a valuable understanding of their business workflows, identify the best use cases for RPA projects quickly, fix process bottlenecks as soon as they occur, and continually optimize automation performance. Process Intelligence answers this call throughout the entire business, even across diverse workflows, departments, technology systems, and locations.

Read more in RT Insights

Capturing Business Advantage After The COVID-19 Crisis | Blog

The crashing global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic now wreaks havoc on businesses. But the pandemic eventually will end, and there will be compelling opportunities at that time. As I explained in my prior blog, companies need to take steps now that enable them to accelerate through the pandemic curve so they can grab opportunities when the pandemic ends. In this blog, I’ll detail how to establish the necessary infrastructure that enables surviving a recession and thriving after the pandemic. This infrastructure is a top priority.

The pandemic is causing a pause in commercial activity for the next few months. But once the pause is over, the underlying fundamentals for moving to digital at scale are still positive. And it will happen quickly at that point – for companies that have the infrastructure for high velocity and productivity.

Read my blog on Forbes

Impact of Automation in Business Continuity – Removing the Human Risk | Blog

In the eighth episode of Digital Reality podcasts, Cecilia Edwards and Jimit Arora examine the impact of automation on an organization’s ability to continue operating during times of crisis, especially as it pertains to mitigating risk to human life and enabling safety. This blog is a summarized transcript of the podcast.

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Cecilia Edwards: Welcome to the eighth episode of Digital Reality, Everest Group’s monthly podcast that moves beyond theory and beyond technology to discuss the realities of doing business in a digital-first world. I’m Cecilia Edwards…

Jimit Arora: …and I’m Jimit Arora. Each month we bring you a discussion that digs into the details of what it means, fundamentally, to execute a digital transformation that creates real business results.

This month, we are going to talk about the impact automation has on an organization’s ability to continue operating during times of crisis. We are all familiar with some of the top of mind benefits of automation, such as reducing costs, increasing productivity, ensuring high availability, increasing reliability, and optimizing performance. Another use case that is frequently deployed – but may not have been as top of mind before the COVID-19 crisis as it is today – is the protection of human life. When human life is at risk, availability naturally takes a back seat. Yet we have examples, both historic and current, where automation is being used to simultaneously address both of these objectives.

Cecilia, why don’t we start with an experience that is personal for you – and that is the form of automation deployed after the Challenger exploded back in 1986.

CE: You’re right, Jimit. This accident was an integral part of the start of my professional career. After graduating from college, I was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force and worked on the Titan Space Launch Program at Vandenberg AFB in California. So, what does that have to do with the shuttle?

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A Titian IV Centaur rocket launches here Oct. 19. The rocket is the largest unmanned space booster used by the Air Force. The vehicle carries payloads equivalent to the size and weight of those carried on the space shuttle. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Photo credits: U.S. Air Force

Back in the ‘80s we had grown accustomed to successful launches of space shuttles, and deeming them safe, we sent politicians, royalty, and civilians on missions. The 25th mission, the 10th for the Challenger, ended in disaster, blowing up just 73 seconds into flight and killing all on board, including a school teacher. This incident rightfully grounded the shuttle program for almost three years as the investigation and remediation procedures were put in place to ensure there would not be a repeat.

One of the functions the shuttle performed was to launch satellites, in particular large satellites, for the US Air Force. With the shuttle grounded, the Air Force was left with no means of completing its mission of putting several large satellites into orbit. Instead of waiting it out, the Air Force made a determination that injecting a satellite into orbit really didn’t require a human, and the Titan IV program was born.

The Titan IV was an unmanned space launch vehicle with flexibility to configure the payload to match that of the space shuttle. In other words, anything that could be launched on the shuttle could also be launched on the Titan IV.

The Air Force chose to automate the launch of the remaining satellites to resume the mission more quickly and to reduce the risk to human life going forward. People worked to prepare the satellite and rocket and then launch remotely, from a control room about 20 miles away. Future disasters would be costly only in dollars, not lives.

Jimit, what do you see as the lesson companies can take away from this story as they contemplate their automation strategies?

JA: Just because you have always done something a certain way doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge your assumptions. What might have been the only option at one point might be outdated; you should consider other technology solutions.

Assume that at some point something will go wrong. How long will your operations be shut down if the loss of human life is a part of an incident? Can you identify ways to eliminate or minimize the risk to people so your business can quickly recover?

Given the massive loss of jobs we are witnessing right now, on the surface, it seems a bit thoughtless to be considering navigation solutions for a crisis of the type we are experiencing that would result in the loss of additional jobs. It is actually a misconception that automation necessarily results in disadvantages for the displaced humans. That wasn’t the experience at Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto is the world’s second-largest metals and mining corporation, producing iron ore, copper, diamonds, gold, coal, and uranium. I don’t know if you have ever seen pictures, but these mines are humongous holes in the ground; trucks are required to move the mined resources. It is a very dangerous job to drive these trucks and the mines are located in very remote locations. Not the ideal working conditions.

In 2008, Rio Tinto began deploying automation, in particular, a fleet of self-driving trucks to perform this dangerous task. This allowed them to run safer operations that were more efficient – self-driving trucks don’t get sleepy – and lower production costs.

GettyImages 1152425530
Photo credits: Getty Images

But what was the impact on the people? They were able to reskill, upskill, and redeploy their people to safer and higher-value tasks. This technology has enabled them to create new career pathways and with investments and innovation in training, they believe their adaptability will be a key factor of their longer-term success.

CE: As other companies are thinking about increasing automation, here are some of the people considerations they should take into account:

  • Ensure you have people to work on the technology
  • Consider the implications of a blended workforce – you don’t necessarily need to get rid of people. Use the technology to make them more productive if you plan on having a blended automated and human workforce
    Side note: when Henry Ford introduced the assembly line – a major new innovation of the time – instead of people losing their jobs, with the increased productivity, they were able to produce cars at a lower price point that led to an expanded market for cars. He ended up hiring more people to keep up with the demand.
  • Train people for their new, higher-value jobs

Digital Reality Check Points

JA: Humans ought to matter to business as much as costs do. We can take a few lessons from the past that provide a guidepost on how protecting your people is protecting your business. As we do every month, we’ll share three of these lessons, our Digital Reality Check Points, that you can apply to your business.

  1. Understand the tasks in your business that are dangerous for humans to perform and determine whether there is an automation or other technology solution to protect them.
  2. Plan for humans to work alongside any technology solutions you deploy.
  3. Seek opportunities for your more efficient automated and human processes to be leveraged as an advantage in the marketplace.

Please check us out at www.everestgrp.com, or follow us on LinkedIn at jimitarora and ceciliaedwards. If you’d like to share your company’s story or have a digital topic you would like us to explore, reach out to us at [email protected]

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Companies Moving to Digital at Scale | Blog

A lot of vendors are starting to drop the term “digital.” We’re at a point in digital maturity where North American and European businesses accept the importance of technologies such as cloud, AI and automation. They ran experiments on these technologies and validated that they work. Now businesses are moving to “digital at scale.” Let’s look at what digital at scale means and why it’s important.

I first want to point out that the COVID-19 pandemic changes the dimensions of the move to digital at scale – but only temporarily. The pandemic is causing a pause in commercial activity for the next couple of quarters. But once the pause is over, the underlying fundamentals for moving to digital at scale are still positive. And the move will happen quickly at that point.

Read my blog in Forbes

Huge Digital Talent Deficit Constrains IT Modernization and Digital Transformation | Blog

The IT modernization movement is moving beyond the initial euphoria around the potential of digital technologies. Companies taking steps to modernize their IT are recognizing that it’s a very substantial endeavor and will take years to accomplish. In committing to the long haul of the modernization journey, several situations are becoming apparent, causing companies to take a more mature, measured approach in how they evolve their technology. Read my blog on Forbes

85% of Enterprises Report That Modern IT Infrastructure Is the Bedrock of Digital Transformation—Everest Group | Press Release

Most enterprises believe their IT infrastructure isn’t future-ready. Everest Group says enterprises need ‘invisible’ Infrastructure 3.0, underpinned by AI, analytics and automation, to drive digital transformation. According to Everest Group, nearly 85% of enterprises believe that IT infrastructure is the bedrock of business transformation initiatives; however, most enterprises believe that their current IT infrastructure services model is not ready to cater to their digital needs. Everest Group asserts that digital enterprises need to consider a new model for IT infrastructure – Infrastructure 3.0, where the focus of IT infrastructure management is on improving business metrics instead of pre-defined IT SLAs and TCO management. Infrastructure services need to be underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and automation to drive self-healing, self-configuring systems that can dynamically and autonomously adapt to changing business needs, thus creating an “invisible” infrastructure model that is highly secure and requires minimal oversight. “With the concept of ‘invisible infrastructure,’ we’re suggesting that IT infrastructure must evolve to become a proactive enabler of business innovation with minimal human intervention,” said Chirajeet Sengupta, partner, Information Technology Services, at Everest Group. “To achieve Infrastructure 3.0, enterprises must focus their IT investments on the three I’s—invincible, interoperable and intelligent. In other words, enterprise must build a resilient and secure infrastructure that protects the business, is seamlessly interoperable across stacks, and uses intelligent tools to continuously evolve with business needs.” Detailed recommendations for achieving Infrastructure 3.0 are offered in Everest Group’s recently published report, “Exploring the Enterprise Journey Towards ‘Invisible IT Infrastructure’: Cloud and Infrastructure Annual Report 2019." This annual research also deep dives into the cloud and infrastructure services (IS) landscape. It provides data-driven facts and perspectives on the overall market. The research covers cloud and IS adoption trends, demand drivers, and buyer expectations. The research analyses buyer challenges, trends shaping the market, and provides an outlook for 2019-2020 for the broader IT as well as cloud and IS market. Highlights of the Cloud and IS market analysis:
  • Enterprises’ need for business transformation has increased the number of consulting-led IS engagements: 68% of IS engagements in 2018 had consulting services in their scope.
  • Change management initiatives will be crucial for service providers going forward, as adoption rates are a crucial metric for buyers.
  • The cloud and infrastructure market in the telecommunication industry in North America is booming primarily due to focus on 5G implementation. Adoption within the retail industry is driven by buyers focusing on enhancing customer experience with digital initiatives.
  • Going forward, enterprises expect infrastructure services to enhance business metrics in addition to reducing costs through outsourcing.
  • Vendor-agnostic behavior will continue as buyers expect agile and continuous innovation and higher value from outsourcing contracts.
  • Cloud adoption is rising, with hybrid cloud becoming the preferred model for enterprises. Service providers are best placed for solutions that will enable hybrid cloud as well as multi-cloud adoption amongst enterprises.
  • Service providers need to provide interoperable infrastructure capabilities to enable enterprises in their digital journeys.
***Download a complimentary 12-page abstract of the report here*** About Everest Group Everest Group is a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services, engineering services, and sourcing. We are trusted advisors to senior executives of leading enterprises, providers, and investors. Our firm helps clients improve operational and financial performance through a hands-on process that supports them in making well-informed decisions that deliver high-impact results and achieve sustained value. Our insight and guidance empowers clients to improve organizational efficiency, effectiveness, agility and responsiveness. What sets Everest Group apart is the integration of deep sourcing knowledge, problem-solving skills and original research. Details and in-depth content are available at http://www.everestgrp.com.

Change Management Programs Often Ineffective In Digital Transformation | Blog

Businesses have conducted change management programs for 20-30 years. Even so, change management programs are systematically ineffective in delivering results. Unfortunately, the ineffectiveness is much worse today. That’s because companies are engaged in digital transformation, where the degree of change is much greater than in the past. What causes the ineffectiveness, and what is the remedy? Read my blog on Forbes

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