The Role of Service Integrators in the Digital Economy

Macroeconomic Factors
Disruption is difficult to forecast particularly when it comes in the form of a technology company that learns how to build self driving cars instead of a car company developing the technology to enable cars to self drive. Yet that’s the landscape in front of us and car companies will yet again change the nature of disruption far into the future. These are the macro economic factors at play.

But car companies are not alone when it comes to changing our thinking. Apple changed the way we consume and think about software forever and I believe that cars will continue to have that same impact on technology, how it integrates with our lives and how we consume it. The technology we will create to fit into self driving cars and the experiences and consumption of that technology will drive the next wave of change. Even though these higher-level activities may seem disconnected from our day today lives they will undoubtedly have an impact long-term.

A time will come when we will look back with embarrassment at how mediocre the technology of today was. Experiencing our car self diagnosing a problem, calling to make an appointment when it’s convenient for us and driving itself to the shop to be repaired will eventually be the norm. Our children will wonder how we ever endured a smelly waiting room filled with other people thumbing through old magazines wondering when their car will be fixed.

The Role of Service Integrators in the Digital Economy
Much fear has existed about the impact the cloud will have on our businesses. Many people believed the shift to the cloud and the abundant leveraging of automation would reduce jobs and ultimately IT spend. Fast forward 2 years and we find a different story. We find IT spending increasing. More over many C-level executives are realizing a direct correlation between IT spending and competitive differentiation. Investing in technology is driving even greater value/revenue for their business. Even though the forecasts about spending decrease and impending dooms day never came to fruition there are still some important changes we not only need to keep in mind but put in place to be successful.

Unlocking Value
When I speak with C-level executives they’re concerned about 3 principle areas, Legacy Applications (often referred to as maintenance), Innovation and new technology, Delighting the user. They feel shackled to their legacy applications. They sometimes feel like they’re chained to the pyramids and cannot move. They have no idea how they’ll ever unlock the enormous value in these apps and worse, how they will transpose their value in a cloud native context. Second they’re tired of being steam rolled by technology. They watch their competitors take advantage of new technology to achieve a competitive edge and they wish they could do the same. Lastly they wish they could deliver delightful user experiences, ones that drive user adoption and loyalty. When they select a strategic partner they will choose one that will enable them to unlock the value of their maintenance applications and redefine their competitive advantage in the digital economy. Moving them to a position of strength – transitioning from being disrupted by technology to leveraging technology as a disruptive force.

Value based outcomes
I often hear people throw around the notion that every company needs to become a software company. Perhaps the devil is in the details but I fundamentally disagree with this notion. When I speak to customers they implicitly talk about driving business value. They want to focus on the applications that drive revenue for their business and forget about the rest. They are looking for a partner that pulls together the ecosystem of technology to accelerate their time to value and time-to-market.

Showing up in a Different Way
If you have regularly read my blog posts or attended my talks you will undoubtedly have heard me talk about the companies that I believe that will be successful in the future. Those companies will be the ones that can create a cultural factory – one where new hires become assimilated into the company culture through the use of pairing with other experienced individuals. The companies that can achieve this kind of DNA replication across their entire organization will undoubtedly thrive in the world. Why is it important to change DNA? The simple fact is that customers are looking for a partner that can take them on a journey. A journey that will lead them to success. A successful journey is one that transforms their applications and people. The first wave of customers have already begun selecting strategic partners. The second and third wave of customers will look to the first for guidance. The strategic partners that are able to demonstrate success in helping the first wave transform will undoubtedly be chosen by waves two and three.

The Future is not set in Stone
Part of what makes digital transformation and selecting the right partner a challenge, is the fact that there is no set journey to success. There are no guarantees in the future. The organizations and the strategic partners that can adjust based on market needs and user feedback will be the ones who will be successful. We live in a world where there are no guarantees and the outcomes are uncertain. It is important that we work together to build trust and demonstrate capability. In doing so we will invariably find a solution and in the process build a solid foundation which after all is what strategic partnerships are all about.


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