KH-digital-solutions
Published: 11 September 2020 To say the impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic over the past months on the state of businesses and commerce as a whole has been catastrophic is somewhat of an understatement. Day by day we hear countless news reports of organisations that are struggling financially and ones that have had to cease trading after years of buoyant performance - a significant percentage of these are cited as having been unable to pivot or transform as a result of the lockdown as the global crisis increased. Additionally, many of those businesses were ultimately suffering a ‘digital haemorrhage’ by constraints of their historical technology and architecture decisions - and many are teetering on the edge today with significant digital choices to make right now.

Professionally, I’ve been passionately part of the IT/Tech/Digital scene for well over 20 years now and have seen many so-called software development movements, initiatives and ‘silver bullet’ style solution messages being pumped out over those decades - With the benefit of having worked on both sides of the proverbial fence (direct for brands and also for global digital agencies) I’ve has never experienced any two situations the same or facing the exact same challenges - may be similar, but definitely not identical.
However, when I think about it, the greatest obstacle (outside of financial) was often the inability to change or implement a new/revised digital solution at pace and with ease. The key reason for this was the poor architectural and technology decisions made previously.

Historically companies would look to invest in a technological solution that could fulfil the needs of the business for three to four years and most likely connected to a parallel financial cost management strategy. This often boiled down to “...buy it once and it’ll last for years before the IT and business guys would be allowed to come back...”.
However, that often gives leaders the sense that the chosen solution is able to serve the businesses objectives for the entire time scale. With all good intentions, seldom is this the case. As businesses evolve quarter by quarter they struggle to have the technology meet their every need. Within this comes corporate inflexibility and woe betide anyone that has the audacity to lobby for extra financial investment to extend what had already been considerable spend with yet another business case and plan for benefits and ROI to be realised.

The dynamic organisations that have seen digital successes during 2020 (and prior to that) are those that have focused and have implemented a progressive or fully decoupled enterprise architecture. The companies that have utilised flexible and open solutions that allow for seamless API integrations at their core and rapid cloud infrastructure scaling. The businesses that concentrate on headless approaches for delivering and powering digital solutions as customer touch-points - be that eCommerce, a mobile app or any other.

In my experience organisations will typically have an enterprise suite product as the central element in their technology ecosystems such as a CMS, eCommerce or digital experience platform. This decision fulfils or has historically fulfilled a point-in-time business need. Additionally, they’ll have an ever-increasing number of ‘shadow IT’ services, solutions or systems that are typically driven by the need for non technical functions of the business to, excuse the language, ‘get sh*t done’. This parallel universe is most likely due to the inefficiencies of technology teams and/or digital partners. Never solely due to a lack of competency, but overwhelmingly because the technology systems in place are not flexible, adaptable or based on MACH architecture principles and approaches that bring agility, faster roads to innovate or in the current climate, the ability to transform and pivot at a pace akin to Usain Bolt running a 100metre sprint!

It's a harsh appraisal and this is not to say that organisations are doomed that have legacy (or modern) monolithic enterprise suites, quite the opposite. It’s a huge opportunity to commit to a hybrid movement that has a truly microservices, API-led, cloud and headless centric architecture - one where chosen digital solutions become pluggable components across the digital estate ensuring ‘best of breed’ where appropriate and the flexibility to evolve any single element depending on the ever-changing needs of the business and its internal team’s desires to utilise a new modern SaaS-based service for example.

I’ll resist going further down the rabbit hole but please if some of this resonates with you or you’re facing similar challenges in your organisation around making the right choices along your digital transformation journey - then get in touch today!
Kingsley_Hibbert

Kingsley Hibbert

Chief Technology Officer

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