At Arkphire, our capability across the spectrum of IT services – from end user devices to the data centre – allows us to open broad discussions with our customers about their innovation agenda.
Sometimes, transformation and/or disruption conversations can be slow to get started. The stakeholders we speak to aren't sure if what they are planning truly is transformative for the organisation. If you're trying to focus your enterprise's plans for innovation, here are some talking points that can get the conversation going and focus everyone on how the organisation will move into its next iteration.
- What are you doing in mobile?
Disruption typically revolves around a few technologies, chief of which is mobile. Today's handsets and tablets feature incredibly sophisticated functionality – ultimately users have better technology in their personal lives than they do in the enterprise. Those mobile devices which are in the enterprise are typically only being used to a fraction of their capability. What are your plans to empower your field sales and service agents in particular? That enterprise mobility project you've been exploring could be the ideal flagship in a wider innovation strategy. But you don't have to boil the ocean on day one. Just putting iPads into the hands of your teams can ease them into the device's convenience and feature set; then the door's open to do more and more in the future, potentially with custom apps or workflows that incorporate the devices sensors (e.g. barcode scanning).
- What is your competition up to?
While it's always been important to keep an eye the competition, that's even more true when it comes to your innovation agenda. Look at what competitors and disruptors are doing in your industry, and cast your net wide. Competition could come from unexpected corners. Few people associate Facebook with financial services, but with its 2-billion-strong customer base, Facebook will achieve some profound disruption if the new payments functionality in Facebook Marketplace and Messenger takes off.
- How do you make a start?
Securing board level appetite for a disruptive innovation strategy is key. Digital Vortex, one of my favourite books on this topic of recent years, has a lot to say on this, and is well worth a read. Enduring complacency in the boardroom about the need to disrupt is surprisingly widespread in established enterprises. As the authors say, the very things that made incumbents successful are likely to hold them back now, namely their business models and business processes. But even large and traditional organisations can have huge success embracing disruption agendas – the jet engines leader Rolls Royce Holdings, for instance, now offers hours of propulsion to airlines instead of jet engines and maintenance contracts, a great example of an organisation fundamentally selling the same product to the same customer using the same people, but in a way that is frictionless for the customer to consume.
If you're lucky enough to be part of an organisation where the boardroom is embracing disruption, it may be reassuring to know that the road to transformation is similar in many organisations, and there are now highly usable digital transformation apps ready to use, available through programs like Apple’s Mobility Partner Program which you can access through Arkphire's own Apple Enterprise Services. The MPP Program groups together the best off the shelf transformative apps in one place, allowing significant transformation with limited effort, e.g transforming a paper-based process with GoCanvas, or transforming sales processes with Force Manager. These ready-made enterprise apps will provide reassurance to even reluctant board members and show them the path to the future, away from traditional methods.
Transformation must start with the end-user
As you get the conversation about transformation going in your enterprise, do remember that "transformation" is a much abused term. I must admit I wince when I see the word transformation used by some of the established IT vendors when talking about their latest server or switch. In our experience, it's all about the end-user impact. If you really want to transform, think hard about how end users are accessing your service. Can you make it frictionless? If you haven't removed all the barriers between the end user and your service, how could you do so? If the final result of your transformation program won't make any improvement in how customers consume what you're offering, then you haven't transformed much of anything at all.
If you'd like more transformation inspiration, Digital Vortex by Jeff Loucks, James Macaulay and Andy Noronha is full of thought-provoking ideas, with a focus on how today's market-leading organisations can face down and win against disruptive competitors. For more information about our Apple Enterprise Services, you can get in touch with myself or go here; Arkphire is Ireland's only Apple Authorised Enterprise Reseller.
Arkphire works with organisations across the full spectrum of IT services, from the desktop to the data centre and the network services in between. We're a Cisco Gold Partner and one of just two Apple Authorised Enterprise Resellers in the UK and Ireland. Our managed services division specialises in engagements around transformation and disruption. For more information, contact Arkphire Chief Technical Architect Eoin Johnston or connect with him on LinkedIn.