Over the past nearly 50 years, the idea of radical change in IT has been rebranded several times, with monikers changing over time from DP, MIS, IS or decision support systems, to re-engineering and, most recently, avoiding getting “Amazoned.” Today, the term in vogue is “becoming a digital business.”
As described in my last Cognizanti article, it is more realistic for traditional legacy organizations to aspire to become digitally enhanced businesses (DEBs) rather than make the leap to full digital status.1 But no matter what you call it, the transformational challenge for established businesses boils down to the following:
Radical change does happen, but it rolls out over the timespan of a decade, and not by throwing new technologies at the business to see if they stick.
Radical change begins with critical alterations to the business and operating models.
Over 80% of radical change, in my estimation, actually occurs in increments and is the result of long-term vision, persistence, assimilation and adoption, usually forced by competition or economics. The resulting benefits typically emerge from an evolving witch’s brew of inter-related existing technologies, upon which new tools, applications, capabilities, behavior and business models are applied.
Existing businesses that have been dramatically enhanced by the current avalanche of social, mobile, analytics and cloud (the SMAC Stack) technologies, in addition to the Internet of Things, exemplify some of the most radical business and operating model changes so far.