Given the state of the global economy and sovereign debt crisis, governments and global enterprises are looking at protecting current investments made in people, technology and processes. Top Line growth and cost reduction however still remain as priorities. They are faced with a dual challenge: Innovate to reduce cost, increase top-line & improve customer experience while leveraging existing IT infrastructure. This dichotomy has made it extremely difficult for IT departments to support growth and cost reduction initiatives while capping or reducing IT investments. This requires a fine balance of bringing state of the art technology, not in a disruptive fashion but more to “wrap and renew“ existing capabilities and making them more agile.
A large majority of IT infrastructure in global organizations is still legacy or ERP. These increasingly aging technologies still power most of the global enterprises. It is difficult to deny the power & capability that mainframes, ERP’s or traditional CRM, SCM systems bring to the table. Their computing and transaction handling capabilities glue large global organizations across the entire value chain.
However given the rate of change and frequent strategic reorientations, organizations are rebuilding or updating their operational, business and IT models every couple of years, some even more frequently. Organizations want to have the capabilities to do this but without sacrificing their core IT strengths or investments. Typically these transformations consume millions of dollars and take years to implement. Before they start to provide the expected ROI, its often time to upgrade. The issue lies in their relative inflexibility, long drawn implementation programs and usability. If an organization wants to rollout a social media strategy, their core systems would take months to re-orient themselves or if they plan to take their core capabilities to customers on mobile platforms, it just too difficult and expensive.
Business Process Management suites (BPMS) have been powerful recent addition to the technology arsenal of leading global corporations as an agent for automation, transformation and change. Typically it has been employed as “green field” implementations either as a standalone or as part of a larger transformation initiative.
BPM has slowly emerged as a “strategic” technology that allows organizations to retain traditional IT infrastructure yet build capabilities to scale up to changing business realities. This is typically referred to as “Wrap and Renew”. BPM brings its traditional strength of process orchestration to leverage core IT systems while still presenting businesses with the ability to build “consumerized applications”.
This Digital Transformation should not be thought of as a complete dismantling of existing IT infrastructure and moving to a newer, more agile technologies lock stock and barrel. The underlying investment in existing systems is huge, new technologies often carry a higher risk of failure and then “why fix it when it ain’t broken”. What digital transformation truly means is innovating in the existing landscape using carefully selected strategic technologies (ex. BPM, Cloud, Mobile etc.) to re-invigorate existing investments. These technologies will allow organizations to build the wrapper around the core IT infrastructure to seamlessly connect customers with the front & back-office processes providing a personalized multi-channel experience.