Speaking at EMC World, EMC’s President of Global Sales and Customer Operations Bill Scannell, was joined by EMC customers John Grieco, VP of Information Technology at Partner’s Healthcare and Etisalat Egypt CIO Khalid Almasouri to discuss the role of business transformation in the digital era.
Business transformation as a term has been used by the vast majority of the industry, though the wide variety of definitions of the buzzword has created some complications. What is generally accepted is there are few companies who would be able to compete with the digitally enabled, cloud-orientated new breed of organizations who have shaken the industry in recent years. Business transformation is a necessity for those organizations who do not want to head the same direction as Blockbuster.
“IT needs to be a business enabler not an obstacle to our employees,” said Grieco. “We need to make sure our people are able to do what they do best, and our IT systems do not hinder what they want to on a day-to-day basis.”
For Grieco and Partner’s Healthcare, business transformation is the process to ensure they are serving their customers as effectively as possible. Partner’s Healthcare is a Boston-based non-profit hospital and physicians network, the largest private employer and the biggest healthcare provider in the Boston metropolitan area, serving more than a third of the population. Grieco’s belief is business transformation will enable the team to create an organization which can serve its customers faster and safer.
“We want to be agile, we want to be nimble and we want to move,” said Grieco. “We want an enterprise look and feel, but the ability to perform like an SME. We want data to be accessible, and we want that accessibility to be fast. We want to drive down the cost of IT, and put that money back into the business. We want to reduce the complexity of the network, and improve its accessibility to the rest of the business. This is what business transformation means to us.”
While cloud and the digital era for Partner’s Healthcare presents an opportunity to better serve customers, it is very much a different story for Etisalat. The digital era has created a new environment which has challenged the telecommunications industry, and created a new level of competition for telcos.
The newly-empowered OTT brands are now stealing market share from the telco’s, offering services which are gradually eroding the profit margins of these companies. Business transformation for the telcos is not so much an opportunity to be better, but more a necessity to survive and more readily compete with technologies such as WhatsApp.
“Business transformation is a change in business mentality,” said Khalid Almansouri, CIO at Etisalat Egypt. “IT used to be the backbone of the company, it used to be about keeping the lights on, but now the CIO has to be outside the IT department. The new breed of CIO needs to be throughout the business to create new opportunities by having a conversation with other departments to understand how technology can answer the challenges which are thrown out by the digital era.”
The rise of OTT’s will not mean the end of telco’s, but should these organizations want to continue to report revenues which shareholders have become accustomed to, there is a requirement for the business to be more agile, to deliver a new experience and also deliver new, innovative products, as fast (if not faster) and cheaper than the OTT’s. Transforming the business for the digital era is critical to achieve these goals.
“We used to know who are competitors were,” said Almansouri. “They were Orange or Vodafone and they were based in the same region as us. They had the same infrastructure, they had the same billing system, so we could compete.
“But now we’re competing with OTT’s who are on the other side of the world. They are more agile and are taking our market share. Business transformation makes us an organization which can compete with these organizations.”
Irrelevant of what the reasoning for business transformation, it is an objective for a vast number of organizations around the world. The introduction of cloud computing has created a horde of cloud native organizations who are disrupting the ecosystem. To answer the call-to-arms traditional business has had to transform to a digital-enabled organization. For EMC, this begins with the modern data centre.
“The first step in building a hybrid cloud or native cloud infrastructure is having a modern data centre,” said Scannell. “To have a modern data centre, you have to have a modern infrastructure. And to have a modern infrastructure you have to have a modern architecture. Scalable infrastructure is important. All flash is important. Software defined everything and cloud-enabled are important. That is how you achieve the modern business and drive digital transformation.”