How to simplify IT complexity to enable innovation
It’s a common complaint, especially among the older generations, that the world is becoming steadily more complex. On the surface, it would seem true with the exponential growth of data being generated, the continual demand for smartphone applications and the increasingly sophisticated development of IT systems. All this means that life both in work or at home can seem far more complex than before.
But, as those of us at the forefront of technology know, in many respects things are becoming easier. The growth of data volumes means that businesses can get closer to the customer in ways they could previously only dream of. Meanwhile, smartphone applications have put a world of information at our fingertips, allowing us to work remotely, no longer tied to a single physical office location. As for building these incredibly sophisticated IT systems? Everything in IT is now designed with efficiency and productivity in mind, helping to remove obstacles from the IT process and allow the CIO to become the enabler of innovation across the organization.
A New Era, a New Mindset
There can be no denying that IT has traditionally been seen as a sticking point, a domain that is considered impenetrable to all but the most qualified experts. IT workers have been used to the complexity and bottlenecks of the process as an inevitable, or even necessary, part of the job.
It’s a case of being unable to see the woods for the trees – but now the branches of complexity are starting to drop. Legacy limitations can be left behind. We can now offer more functionality, and deliver it quicker.
Back at the start of my career, I was a young Chemical Engineer that was interested in the use of computers within the manufacturing process. While I worked to try and automate factory processes, my father, who also worked in the industry, questioned my enthusiasm, asking “What will happen when everything is automated?” He felt that computing could only be a valuable asset when it could indicate levels of profitability in real-time – with the cost/revenue implications being calculated right down to an increase of steam flow to a piece of equipment, or quality changes in the process feedstock.
Real-Time Means Real Progress
Since IT was welcomed into the mainstream business it has endeavored to provide real-time data access, and while the ability has always been there, it has not been available at a realistic price point.
Nearly 30 years later, we are starting to make use of emerging technologies which focus on mobility and real-time access while delivering cost savings. Technologies like SAP’s S/4 HANA are enabling this simpler set up. A single platform on which an IT department can run all its CRM, ERP or data warehousing instances, it offers businesses a chance to stop looking at their organization in the ‘rear view mirror’ and start to plan in real-time. Businesses have the ability to forecast on a daily or even hourly basis, at whatever frequency makes sense for their organization.
Crucially, a real-time view of systems means simplicity for these businesses. It helps unlock their information across analytics, mobile, and applications. It provides options, not constraints. It can raise productivity in ways that were previously thought impossible. And it empowers organizations to anticipate market changes at an hour’s notice and make their own business model breakthroughs.