• December 16, 2016

Transformation Innovation: Is the Risk Worth the Reward?

Maintain security and stability while pushing the enterprise forward.

Over the course of the last decade, the rate of innovation and disruption in the enterprise has been astronomical. Old-school ways of managing IT infrastructure have been abandoned as many enterprise organizations—across industries—have embraced things like hybrid cloud, DevOps, and other technologies that allow the enterprise to be more agile and flexible in an increasingly ephemeral world.

That said, enterprise IT transformation is far from universal yet. A big reason for this is the perceived complexity of transformation and the risk often linked to the more “open” technology that’s often associated with it.

“It’s not that organizations are laggards who are unnecessarily risk-averse,” says Cyril Coste, Principal Digital Transformation at Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Enterprise Services UK. “That’s true in some cases. But it’s more that they’re still struggling to understand and make a business case for full-blown transformation. For some, it’s not yet clear how implementing certain technologies will help them in a way that greatly outweighs the new risk they take on.”

Big Data, Biometrics, and Open APIs: What’s the Real Value?

Coste says this mentality is acute in the financial and healthcare industries, where customer (or patient) data security is paramount.

“While most IT leaders in those organizations see the value in innovative technologies that allow them to operate faster and smarter, a clear line is drawn in the sand if those benefits come at the expense of efficiency, security, and stability,” Coste says. “Even if the risk is small, it’s an incredibly tough barrier to overcome.”

Coste says this is particularly true in three big areas:

1. Big Data: The use cases for Big Data seem obvious in healthcare and finance (e.g., more rapid analyses of trends or patterns; smarter investments; faster, more targeted patient care). That said, Big Data also adds a layer of complexity to IT infrastructure that can introduce new risk. If data isn’t well-organized or structured, it can become less reliable and stable—big red flags for healthcare and finance IT leaders.

2. Biometrics: Fundamentally, this is another technology that seems like a no-brainer in industries where data privacy and security are big issues. The problem, however, is that biometrics still rely on data transfer. And until there’s a widely accepted framework for how to transmit, process, and store that data, some organizations will be slow to adopt it.

3. Open APIs: For most tech companies, application program interfaces (APIs) aren’t new technology. But in industries like financial services and healthcare that have historically operated on completely closed networks, it can be a radical—and frightening—idea. Given consumer expectations today, however, Coste says every organization will be forced to rethink its old-school approaches. “If you’re going to keep up with your customers’ expectations and continue to provide more value, you have to consider opening yourself up a bit,” Coste says. “If you do it right, there are ways to remove most of the risk from this.”

Getting Over the Hump

For Coste, the value of digital transformation is clear. But he also understands the perspective of the enterprise when it comes to risk. So, how can IT leaders bridge that gap and begin to embrace the tools that will allow them to drive operational efficiencies and deliver more value to their end users?

“From my perspective, transformation isn’t about implementing all these new tools and technologies in silos,” Coste explains. “Instead, it starts and ends with having the right infrastructure in place to enable continuous transformation. And that means looking at the bigger picture and addressing the enterprise’s core cloud challenges up front. When you build that strategic foundation, it becomes a lot easier for IT leaders to pull the right levers to increase agility, reduce costs, and add value—all while maintaining compliance.”

Like this article? Read more about the opportunities ahead for banking and healthcare transformation.

Cyril Coste is Principal Digital Transformation, Advisory Services at HPE Enterprise Services UK. A veteran in the digital industry with more than 20 years of experience across business transformation, IT, and marketing strategy, Coste is responsible for providing both strategic and tactical leadership across transformation client engagements. Follow him on Twitter.