November 26, 2015

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Challenges on the Road Towards 21st Century Enterprise

Lately in global forums, there has been an increase in interest on the topic of “21st Century Enterprise”. We have also seen a resounding response to our CEO Anant Gupta’s blog. Most enterprises have realized the need to embark on the journey of transforming themselves into a 21st Century Enterprise, and early adopters have already taken their first steps on this journey. With the spotlight on 21st Century Enterprise increasing more and more in brightness we need to take time to have a look at the challenges that one will face on this journey and the ways in which one can get over them.   

Before we start talking about  the major enterprise challenges, let’s go through  what these enterprises are aspiring to achieve. They want to:

  1. Bring technology into the core of the business,
  2. Design cloud native services and offer everything as a service (XaaS),
  3. Offer services to consumers in a catalogue and equip them with the ability e serve themselves, and
  4. Focus on managing outcomes by adopting the role of business orchestrator between multiple service creators and service consumers.

Where does it all lead to?

As enterprises move towards the XaaS era, I see three types of technology roles emerging in the business-IT domain. They are the roles of service consumers, service creators and service orchestrators. An enterprise would play the role of an orchestrator and orchestrate the services, largely those provided by external service providers. This will in turn bring about the following challenges.

Challenge 1: Service Creation Challenges

Enterprises will need to adopt radical changes in service design while taking the XaaS approach. By design we do not mean “developing” instead it means that a service must have a precisely defined ‘consumption method and consumption components’. The design, including the break-fix, should be self-serviceable. Apart from this self-healing would also be an inherent feature of every service.

Moreover, another design and development criterion is that every service must be ubiquitously consumable. In other words, it should be cloud-based, BYOD enabled and personalize-able for the consumers.

New technologies are emerging and quickly gaining maturity which enables us to design and develop new services based on them. For example, containers are the finding its place in data center, pushing down virtual machines to a layer below. Similarly virtual machines have pushed the application host a notch down.

Challenge 2: Service Consumption Challenges

Predominantly, what defines service consumption in the 21st century is ‘self-service’. ‘Customers’ must learn to become the new generation ‘consumers’ and reconcile with self-service, as assisted support is now a thing of the past. Also do note that, self-support is also a part of enterprise self-service.

What does this mean?

  • A 21st century consumer must learn to obtain services. The onus is now shifted on the consumer, assuming that the provider has designed the service  self-serviceable.
  • It would be the service consumer’s responsibility to obtain full value out of the service, as the provider would deliver value by design. It also means that a savvy consumer will be able to obtain a higher value from the same service as compared to a naïve consumer.
  • Consumers will get the level of service that they deserve.

Although, it sounds as if it is hard on the consumer, but this is now the truth. Always remember, the difference between a 21st century customer and a 21st century consumer.

Challenge 3: Enterprise Inertia

The immediate challenge for enterprises is to acquire the ability to redesign existing services. Even though cloud has proven its worth and is commercially available, organizations are far behind in migrating to cloud for service re-engineering/transformation.

BYOD is another strong contributor towards moving in XaaS environment but in most organizations it is still in a debate mode.

Captive Customer dilemma (or the privilege?) makes an enterprise complacent to move forward and see real competition from those who provide the best in class services. Who would want to enforce inferior services upon their employees? For example, Dropbox vs your “storage anywhere” service.

Finally, the organization change management which is the most difficult part. But we are left with no choice. Change or will be left behind.

At HCL, we help you to deal with such 21st century challenges. We offer   products and services which help enterprises travel miles successfully. Some of our solutions that you would like to explore more are:

Let me know of your experience as you embark or think of embarking on the journey towards becoming a 21st Century Enterprise.