Business Transformation: Where Technology Meets Strategy

Harder, better, faster, stronger: Daft Punk could have been talking about today’s business environment. With consumer power on the rise and organisations under increasing pressure to deliver more for less, many organisations are facing changing business priorities due to the current economic and competitive environment.

Almost every business interviewed as part of ‘Improving Business Operations: The Ambition/Maturity Gap and the need for BPM’, a recent report from Vanson Bourne, indicated that they are operating under increased pressure, with 96% of business decision-makers reporting that they have business priorities for 2012 that have become a greater focus as a result of the current environment.

As a result, they are making strategic decisions to increase operational effectiveness, with 92% requiring improvements to the way the business functions. Improving processes can enable organisations to deliver better customer service and reduce the time it takes to develop new products and services.

Yet despite the fact that many of these changes reflect a shift to a greater dependence on technology, in many organisations, these decisions are taken without considering the impact on IT, or how it could help. In fact, more than seven in ten business decision-makers believe that their business’ IT is not facilitating their need to achieve their priorities for 2012.

In order to make changes that deliver real business benefit, organisations must align their people, processes and technology. To implement a business transformation strategy, organisations should consider the following steps:

1. Smarter operations

From a standing start, the end goal of a transformation project can seem daunting. Yet the organisations that gain the most from this type of project are the ones who take things one step at a time, adopting continuous improvement rather than making dramatic changes right off the bat. By making small alterations to processes at operational level, businesses will ultimately ensure that they have the infrastructure in place to deliver success.

2. Improved service

Building strong customer relationships is crucial for any business, and too many sour almost before they’ve begun. By improving and automating processes, organisations can feel confident that they are providing all essential tools and offering the best possible support to customers.

3. Drive revenue growth

The IT department is rarely seen as an enabler of revenue growth. In fact, poorly managed projects can lead to delays and disruptions. More than a third of business decision-makers who regard delivering business process improvement or transformation as challenging, have that view because their experience is that those tasks usually take longer than planned. As evidence of this, more than half of IT decision-makers agree that business or process transformation tasks take longer than planned.

These delays can be caused by legacy IT systems, which restrict the transformation process. Investing in a business process platform enables integration of all IT resources, ensuring optimum use of enterprise tools and greater alignment with the company’s goals. This helps organisations to reduce operational expenses and drive more value from existing enterprise applications and resources, really showing the business benefits IT can deliver.

4. Fast development of products

In a crowded marketplace, the importance of first-mover advantages is growing. Creating flexible and re-usable services and processes can cut development time. When taking a new product or service to market, this acceleration of the development process is invaluable. Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that three-quarters of business decision-makers describe existing or planned projects to improve operational effectiveness as time-critical.

5. Benefit from the cloud

In the current economic and competitive environment, the business often needs to make rapid decisions which can leave IT struggling to keep up. Embracing the cloud offers organisations a way to bridge this gap. Instead of waiting weeks while IT creates a bespoke tool, the right cloud based platform allows new applications to be created very fast and used anywhere, at any time.

One example of an organisation implementing a successful business transformation strategy is Red Bee Media, the largest broadcast playout and channel management business in the UK, with clients including the BBC, UKTV, Channel 4 and Virgin Media TV. As the broadcast, communications and information technology markets converge, business agility and speed-to-market have become increasingly important differentiators.

In order to deliver what its customers need, flexibility is a key requirement for Red Bee Media. The platform chosen by Red Bee facilitates the transformation of their business. It allows changes to be made simply and rapidly and puts IT systems where they should be: at the heart of driving productivity improvements for the business. The business can now quickly adapt to changing needs and end-to-end business processes can be fine tuned over time. Scalable, flexible business process management provides critical competitive advantage, helping Red Bee to stay one step ahead.

Business transformation bridges the gap between strategic intent and the processes in place to meet business goals. It considers the alignment of IT with business priorities while streamlining operations to reduce costs. This alignment means that IT is no longer seen as an inhibitor of change, but as the driving force accelerating business improvements.

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Matt Davies is Splunk's EMEA Director of Product Marketing. Matt is Splunk's technical evangelist in EMEA and is responsible for communicating Splunk's go to market strategy in the region. Previously Matt has worked at Cordys, Oracle/BEA, Elata, Broadquay Consulting, iPlanet/Sun, Netscape and IBM. With nearly 20 years in the software industry, Matt has extensive knowledge of enterprise IT systems.