Digital transformation makes us all partners, customers and…competitors

Billions of businesses, people, and things are being connected as digital transformation takes hold, fundamentally altering the way products and services are created.

Betsy Burton, analyst at Gartner says the so-called “economy of connections” made possible by the Internet of Things (IOT) means the lines between suppliers and customers are disappearing.

This may sound like hyperbole, but there is substance behind these claims.  The analyst cites two examples, starting with the London Theatre Direct, which allows individuals to either create apps or  add website content to sell tickets.  These people are often customers, but can then become partners and stakeholders too.  The DigitalGov initiative in the US follows a similar model by offering a programming interface which allows partners and suppliers to create portals and services, and as customers get involved by offering feedback, the strength of the services grow.

This concept may take getting used to, but it is the kind of development that business technology needs to keep up with the demands of the corporate world.

At Sollertis, we are strong advocates of altering the IT service management status quo, introducing concepts such as Business Relationship Management, Smart IT and digital transformation to help end the siloed, inward-looking approach that has blighted the development of corporate IT to such a degree that businesses now often prefer to source their own products and solutions.

The key differentiator between monolithic IT and smart IT is that the latter focuses on meaningful outcomes, for customers, partners, and the business.  Allowing these parties to collaborate and communicate is the only way of ensuring that one or more isn’t forgotten.  IT in the past has been guilty of tunnel-vision which has led to it barrelling ahead with projects which might not be in everyone’s best interests.

The “economy of connections” will facilitate instant feedback from people impacted by changes, and this will be a challenge to IT teams and professionals who have previously enjoyed relative autonomy.  In the era of digital transformation, there will be no hiding place.  But the positives far apart the culture shock by ensuring that IT delivers something worthwhile.  This may mean IT professionals have to work harder and under more scrutiny, but the role will ultimately be more rewarding because it will deliver results.

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Simon Kent
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