With business enterprises showing an inclination towards digital business transformation, CIOs and IT leaders have started identifying opportunities to enable their enterprises to go digital. In order to scale up to a Digital Business, business enterprises will have to fulfill a diverse range of requirements. At Evoke, we have been aiding growing enterprises to transform into digital businesses. With this post, we would like to facilitate enterprises who seek an understanding of the particular technological aspects of Digital Transformation, and briefly describe the key technologies that act as key enablers for digital business transformation.
What is a Digital Business?
Before we start discussing this topic, it is imperative to understand what a ‘Digital Business’ is all about. It is all about the inclusion of people, businesses and things, all working together to make business transactions happen.
Let’s consider an example: take for instance the use of blood pressure (BP) machines which are very handy for individuals monitoring their blood pressure at any given time of the day. However, the data recorded in these machines remains native. What if we could transfer this data from BP machines to a diagnostic center or share this data with doctors who seek on-demand medical advice regarding the blood pressure reading vis-à-vis health status. This completes a transaction in which a patient, a machine (thing), a platform (cloud computing), one or more applications, businesses and a set of doctors are involved.
In the above example, you can see that people, businesses, computing platforms/applications, and things (typically, mobile devices, sensors etc.) get connected to become part of one or more transactions. When associated with price tags, these transactions become business transactions. Hypothetically speaking, this ’connectedness’ could become part of the business model of diagnostic centers and device manufacturers, thereby impacting their top line. You may have observed that technology played a crucial role in connecting diverse stakeholders, applications, things etc., in nurturing this business into existence.
A traditional business wanting to go digital and become termed as a ‘digital business’ would have to look out for ways and means to re-architect existing business models or create new business models to achieve connectedness between individuals (customers, staff), business partners, other businesses, and things by making use of emerging technologies. Here are some of the key building blocks of a digital business transformation:
- Technologies mentioned below to achieve connectedness between people, business, business partners and things
- Security, governance and integration
- Connectedness with customers, business partners, market etc.
- Advanced IT infrastructure to achieve efficient connectivity
Digital Business Transformation – Technologies
As mentioned earlier, technologies are going to play a vital role in connecting people, things, and businesses. The diagram below depicts the key technology building-blocks required for digital business transformation:
As shown in the illustration, the following are key technologies which ought to be adopted at some point in order for a business enterprise to go digital.
1. API Management: When talking about connectedness, APIs come into the forefront. In order to generate value out of existing data and functionality, businesses would look to expose these sets of data and functionalities to their business partners, customers etc. This is where APIs and API management platforms such as Apigee, Layer7, Mashery etc., could become advantageous. Business enterprises wanting to go digital would have to start working towards adoption of different aspects of API management. Technically speaking, with APIs, the applications expose one or more functionalities in the form of APIs, which could be later combined to expose one or more business services/APIs to consumer applications. In addition, mere data can also be exposed in the form of APIs.
2. Cloud-Native Apps: When articulating connectedness in digital businesses and related economics, there will be a need for faster changes in business data & functionality and an ability to start and stop one or more specific services as and when needed. With the advent of cloud-native apps, these requirements could be easily fulfilled utilizing containers and micro services.
- Containers: Technologies such as Dockers are at the forefront of re-defining how applications are built and deployed. Containers have become more relevant in today’s era of “web-scale IT”, the term coined by Gartner to represent the ways that large cloud companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook deliver seamless user services on a massive scale.
- Microservices: Architecting and developing solutions as a bundle of microservices would accommodate innovative solutions at a faster pace. This is because of the fact that a microservice owns both data and functionality and changing one of them would be easier than changing monolithic applications, which used to have several dependencies.
3. DevOps: Owing to the unique business models arising due to the connectedness between people, business, and things, it becomes of primary importance for business enterprises to acquire capabilities that are required for continuous software delivery. Put simply, the sooner the business enterprise gets on-board with a DevOps way of building and delivering software, the better they’ll be positioned to achieve digital business transformation. We recommend you read our recent post on the Continuous Software Delivery Pipeline to understand about technologies that are required for DevOps adoption.
4. Internet of Things (IoT): Although machine-to-machine platforms and related technologies have been around for more than fifteen years or so, it is only recently that everyone has started paying attention to them (i.e. after the arrival of IoT-related implementations in business workflows). As a matter of fact, M2M platforms are at the heart of any IoT solutions. When talking about ‘connectedness’ between people, business, and things, it is the IoT which enables the interaction between things and businesses. Thus, IoT is going to be crucial from a strategic point of view and sooner than later will become one of the priorities for CIOs and IT leaders.
5. Analytics: With data originating from various sources, including customers, partners, things, customer service representatives etc., it becomes of prime importance for business enterprises to use the data in one or more unique ways to re-architect existing business models or to create new business models. Big data technologies and predictive/prescriptive analytics are going to play decisive role in generating value out of data.
6. Mobility: With customers and partners wanting to access business services across different channels such as laptop/desktops, mobile devices, kiosk etc., business enterprises need to support their application functionality on a variety of mobile devices, thus making mobile technologies indispensable. Enterprises would have to start offering and supporting their products and services across diverse mobile devices and subsequently start strategizing for relevant mobile technology adoption.
7. Social Integration: With customers talking about products and services on different social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter etc., business enterprises would have to capture this data, apply analytics, and subsequently come up with an assortment of innovative ideas to re-architect and create new business models.
8. Web-Scale Technologies: Web-scale technologies such as MEAN Stack are redefining the traditional approach towards web development. Web/mobile apps built using MEAN stack technologies (MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, NodeJS) fit the primary requirements of speed and economics in web-scale IT, which is the crux of digital business transformation.
9. Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS): With everyone talking about moving applications to the cloud in the form of cloud-native apps, and the reality that not all apps could be moved to the cloud in the near future, it becomes essential to have cloud integration services which could integrate on-premise apps with cloud-native apps. This is where cloud services such as iPaaS play an important role. Business enterprises would have to take into consideration iPaaS implementation to integrate cloud-native apps with on-premise apps, apart from other benefits that iPaaS cloud services have to offer.
Evoke Technologies believes that in order succeed in today’s age of digital disruption, it is crucial for your enterprise to elevate itself into a ‘Digital business’, in order to improve its efficiency and enhance business value.
To know how we can help your business enterprise in digital business transformation, feel free to reach us at (937) 202-4161.
|Ajitesh Kumar Shukla was a Principal Architect at Evoke Technologies. He used to head the Architecture and Governance initiatives at Evoke. Ajitesh was responsible for enabling enterprise-wide adoption of leading-edge technologies and related practices, including, implementation of relevant tools and frameworks. He also spearheaded the DevOps, Big Data and Analytics practice at Evoke.