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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: New Digital Foundation

Digital is impacting every aspect of enterprise IT infrastructure. Achieving balance between supporting new business models (the business) and delivering support and services (technology) is hard. To survive in the digital world, radical shifts will be made in enterprise architecture, core IT competencies, and development approaches.

For any organization that is “re-born digital,” this requires implementing a New Digital Foundation. This means no more legacy infrastructure. No more siloed repositories. No more disconnected data. A New Digital Foundation is a modernized platform approach that includes extreme automation, predictive analytics, centralized and consolidated architectures, and lightweight development tools

Follow the disruptors and you’ll see that their processes are digitalized from end-to-end. This means every transaction, every process, and all of the data that flows in between is digital. Their underlying systems are fast and configurable. They support technologies that enhance automation, like sensors, machine-to-machine communications, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is extreme automation, and it lies at the core of any digital business.

When processes and data are fully integrated, predictive analytics can be applied to add value all across the supply network—to offer insights into better performance, customer behavior, and product innovation.

Consolidation is key. Consolidating different operating systems and applications onto a single platform is one of the most challenging IT projects, but the risk of not consolidating is greater. It could mean obsolescence.

Adopting a consolidated, modern platform produces benefits in process efficiencies and reductions in IT costs. Standardization is achievable. Silos of information are united and more secure. But consolidation does more than this: It helps to lay the groundwork for Digital.

With a consolidated infrastructure, your organization will be better equipped to add digital technologies and hyperscale your capabilities. A consolidated infrastructure paves the way for a modular approach, based on the development of lightweight, easy-to-integrate apps. Flexibility is a key element in future, pristine enterprise architectures, along with the ability to include global operations in a digital supply network.

Whether you’re a born-digital startup or a re-born incumbent, the future of your business is intrinsically tied to building a New Digital Foundation. In many cases, this will mean rethinking your existing platform strategy, or re-platforming entirely. It may sound daunting, or even crazy, but, remember throwing away the Mainframe and client-server platforms?

Welcoming (and implementing) a modernized platform approach is the only way forward. But none of this is possible without the right mentality. In my next post, I’ll look at what it means to have a “Digital Mindset” and how this attitude sets the leaders apart from the laggards. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

Mark Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea is OpenText's CEO & CTO. A prominent thought leader, he has extensive experience in information technology and his vision is to enable the digital world to help transform organizations.

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