Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Working together: practical steps for moving towards an interconnected ecosystem

by Darren Watkins, managing director for VIRTUS Data Centres

The interconnected business is thriving in a collaborative and customer-driven economy. It’s widely agreed that the most competitive business is one that is fully connected with its own systems, cloud solutions, mobile workforce, supply chain, partners and customers. It promises to significantly improve efficiency and accountability throughout an organisation – as well as bringing better external links with partners, customers and geographies.

But while it’s clear that a better-connected enterprise can accelerate business performance and create new opportunities, many companies aren’t quite there yet. For some, risks have bred inertia – while others are restrained by legacy operations – silos and boundaries, truncated business processes and disparate information systems.

It’s true that the change required to realise these ambitions is significant. Companies need to understand how they can change their whole ecosystems –  not just discreet business processes – and so, the need for guidance and support from experts has never been greater.


Find the right partner

So how do businesses start moving along their journey towards making better connections? The first step to success is in looking for the right vendor to help. The right technology partner is the backbone to any successful connected business, and whether you choose colocation, fully managed connectivity within a third-party data centre, or a cloud-based services, our advice to any organisation is to base technology decisions on business needs.

Prioritise your pain points according to core competencies and improve on what you do best.  Managed service providers are appealing because they keep total cost of ownership (TCO) to a minimum – and can provide expect measurable returns on investment, even in an evolving and unpredictable industry.

The best tech providers help you make connections at a rate which you can’t do alone.


Work together

A reluctance to collaborate and work together is not a new story in business. Competitive advantage is so often thought to be held in keeping company secrets and though developing ideas in isolation.

But interconnected business models call for something different. We believe that, order to manage challenges of this level of complexity, the smartest people, the most advanced technology, and the best institutions need to work more collaboratively.

Exploring what an interconnected future looks like is best achieved through learning from the successes and failures of others. Analysts, tech experts and commercial businesses need to open their doors to share experiences – and to move away from a closed environment where collaboration isn’t encouraged and innovation happens in silo. It’s only then that the interconnectivity model will mature, and whole industries will reap the rewards.

And for the technology industry that serves these businesses, our message is to work together. We have collective responsibility to foster greater collaboration to unlock the potential of technological change. When tech advances, whole industries do, and change can’t happen in silo. While the digital disruption which leads to an interconnected business represents a do-or-die tipping point for business, the opportunity is a positive one – and our collective help is the crucial element in driving a culture of progress and innovation.


One step at a time – and focus for success.

Of course, this isn’t an overnight revolution. Whilst the shift to a connected ecosystem is a profound one, companies don’t have to immediately make a revolutionary break from the past. Enterprises must start small – by evaluating their existing technology environment, ensuring the IT department has the right skill sets in place, and leveraging relationships with existing IT suppliers, as required.

But while overnight change isn’t required, they must be prepared to make incremental and forward-looking developments necessary to capitalise on the interconnected future. They must learn lessons from others, and look for measurable ROI from any change they make.