Digital transformation: if you want to change, you need to know how
In times of technological revolution, the global economy requires management to have a much broader perspective of the environment in which the company operates. Trends that shape this environment will determine whether the enterprise will be successful or not in the future. How can we recognize and utilize such trends?
The way an organization functions on the market and its success largely depends on how quickly it can adapt to the dynamically changing market situation. Companies are not virtual entities developing in the sterile conditions of the market model, but organisms consisting of people operating in a real environment. The fact that the functioning of an enterprise depends on the local infrastructure or level of education is obvious — just like the need to develop ways to protect against the effects of events such as floods or hurricanes. However, it is only by noticing how large an impact employees’ lifestyles, global trends and events have on the organization that decision makers are able to understand that business success requires monitoring not only local trends, but also global ones — despite them not always being obvious.
How to predict the future?
The Future Thinkers project was created to identify and describe trends that are shaping the company’s future environment today. During workshops organized by Dell Technologies in cooperation with Digital Excellence, CIONET, SAP and Infuture. Institute, project participants discussed current changes and possible future scenarios.
“As leaders in new technologies and partners of many companies undergoing the process of digital transformation, we are well aware of the scale of both the challenges and the opportunities brought by the upcoming changes. The Future Thinkers project is an expression of faith in the possibility of using the collective experience of our partners in the coopetition formula, i.e. competitive operation — competition based on joint thinking and discussing the future. We are convinced that this is how it will be possible to effectively analyze trends and develop plans for their optimal use,” – said Kamil Etel, Business Development Automotive, Dell Technologies
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking of changes — often referred to by the collective term of digital transformation — as something that only applies to those entities that belong to the new tech industry. Meanwhile, digital transformation is an unavoidable process for every company, because it spreads throughout the entire environment of every organization. So what trends do you need to consider when planning strategies for the coming years?
Digital nomads in the world of cyber threats
Cybersecurity is the first major trend of the future. Awareness of cyber-vulnerability, from which the impulse is to analyze threats occurring in a company and ensure adequate data security, is far from obvious and universal. It would appear that mainly companies for whom IT infrastructure is necessary for the proper functioning of their core business are concerned about this issue. This is correct, but further conclusions may by surprising: today almost all enterprises belong to this group! Therefore, thinking about ensuring business continuity cannot be limited to preparing the organization for the effects of natural disasters or catastrophic infrastructure failures. It is necessary to take into account cyber threats of a diverse nature and their consequences. These include external attacks aimed at acquiring or destroying data, blocking or hindering communication between company branches, preventing sales and customer services or stopping production altogether. A company may also become an accidental victim of malware spreading on the Internet or suffer due to an attack aimed at one of its partners or cooperators. Developing an IT system that is completely resistant to attacks of cybercriminals and infrastructure failures is impossible. Although the organization’s efforts are always focused on minimizing risk, it is also necessary to prepare business continuation plans that anticipate such situations and contain procedures that will allow the company to maintain its core functions in the meantime and restore full operations as fast as possible.
There is another trend that is slightly less spectacular than cyber threats often discussed in the media but also has the potential to deeply transform the business environment of companies — digital nomadism. According to the Future Thinkers report, in 2035 there will be over a billion digital nomads out there, i.e. people who, thanks to modern technologies, are no longer tied to a desk or even an office. They can provide services from anywhere in the world, so long as they have a good Internet connection. Digital nomadism opens up huge opportunities for recruiting valuable employees — without the limitations imposed by the location of company headquarters or its facilities. It allows companies to optimize costs and gives them the opportunity to meet the challenges of globalization. At the same time, it poses a colossal threat to the integrity of enterprise IT systems, as well as a great challenge to IT staff whose tasks in this situation relate to terminal devices dispersed over hundreds of kilometers, making it impossible to be directly serviced and managed.
It is worth taking a closer look at a specific example of how implementing a solution that prepares the company for future challenges looks in practice, including trends identified in the Future Thinkers project. For this example, let’s use a company that is definitely not associated with the digital revolution — one of the most important wood joinery manufacturers in Europe. Established in 1998, Eko-Okna S.A. is doing great on the windows and doors market, which, as the name implies, are created from ecological wood. In just over 20 years of operations, it has increased its staff to over 7,000 individuals and today sends thousands of windows and assembly components to customers every day. It might not be obvious at first glance, but Eko-Okna S.A. uses 150 servers in their daily operations that support over 50 IT systems. This is a great example that nowadays every company is in fact a technology company, where the server room is just as important as the production hall or warehouse.
At Eko-Okna S.A., 2,500 client devices are used by almost 1,800 employees. In accordance with the expectations resulting from Future Thinkers program trends, this was a very serious challenge for the efficiency of company’s operation. Looking for a way to go beyond the limitations of existing IT infrastructure and to ensure cybersecurity, business continuity and increase flexibility, Eko-Okna S.A. decided to introduce the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) platform provided by Dell Technologies. The virtualization of the working environment on terminal equipment allowed the company to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by, among others, digital nomadism, while simultaneously ensuring high a security level and management convenience and significantly reducing the amount of work required by the IT team. From the perspective of business continuity, the use of VDI turned out to be the optimal solution, thanks to which it was possible to restore the entire environment in a way that is much faster and less demanding of resources than when using solutions that utilize backup copies.
Today’s business environment, like the world at large, is undergoing rapid changes, and their consequences and speed are often surprising. Ensuring a company’s competitiveness both today and in the future requires management to be aware of trends and to respond to their anticipated effects before they even appear. Whether it be digital nomadism, cybersecurity, cloud technologies, demographic changes or artificial intelligence, being unaware of or ignoring ongoing changes can have serious consequences for business success and maybe even the future existence of any company.
Iryna Szwabowska, Dell Technologies
Last Updated on February 25, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska