Business survival in the next normal
Gary de Menezes, Country Manager for Micro Focus South Africa, painted a grim picture of the country’s business environment in his opening remarks at Micro Focus Realize 2020, held online for the first time. With South Africa’s economic activity projected to contract by 7.2% in 2020, and GDP expected to decline by between 5.1% and 7.9% in 2020, only starting to recover in 2024, not to mention the depreciating rand-dollar exchange rate, South African businesses face a tough road ahead.
“All of these have had a major impact on local businesses, which are reviewing all of their projects, cancelling some of them, choosing only to embark on business-critical projects or even just making do with what they have. One thing is clear, businesses will need to do things differently in order to survive.”
Moving forward, enterprise automation is going to be key to meeting business challenges. Business will need to exploit its current assets, introducing incremental changes in the form of intelligent additions to the enterprise that will operate/integrate with the current technology. They’ll have to find a way to bridge their current state and the desired state without major disruptions.
The good news, according to De Menezes, is that while some projects that were planned prior to the coronavirus have been cancelled, some new ones have come to the fore that didn’t exist prior to COVID-19. “Enterprises need to review everything that they’re currently doing and look for sweet spots where they can implement change to support the business going forward.”
Smart digital transformation is key to business success in the next normal, says Genefa Murphy, CMO of Micro Focus. “The world we live in is digital – we’re looking at 500 million applications by 2023. While digital transformation may seem simple on the surface, there are layers of complexity in the backend that create challenges for customers.”
Adding to this is the ever-changing environment. Consider the pandemic – nobody could have seen it coming, yet it’s had a massively adverse effect on business. Yet at the same time, it’s also provided opportunity for other organisations to thrive because it’s accelerated digital transformation.
IDC’s five stages to enterprise recovery lists the five phases that businesses go through as they respond to the pandemic as business continuity, optimise costs, business resiliency, targeted investments and future enterprise.
Murphy says businesses can adopt one of two approaches to digital transformation. They can rip and replace their existing infrastructure and start from scratch, or they can find a solution that integrates with their existing technology. The latter approach makes more sense as customers generally want to see a ROI on the technology that they’ve already invested in. “Transformation isn’t enough, businesses need to be able to run, transform and adapt. And the only way to achieve that is through smart digital transformation.”
Four key things are required in order to deliver on the goals of digital transformation:
- The business needs to prioritise the desired outcome, whether it be speed, agility, insights or security. All of these are important, but the business needs to choose one to focus on. If it chooses speed to market, then enterprise DevOps should be the primary focus. If agility is a primary concern, then hybrid IT and IT management are key to success in a multi-cloud world. Security requires a focus on security as well as risk and governance, while insights are derived through predictive analytics of both internal and external data.
- IT must be run like a business. Once the business has chosen the outcome that matters most, it needs to consider how to optimise IT and make it as efficient as possible. This requires laying out the core functionality of IT and identifying where it can add value, looking for gaps in existing processes and connecting the dots between different parts of IT.
- The business needs to automate, analyse and secure every step of the way. The ability to achieve this at scale requires augmenting machine intelligence with human intelligence.
- Solutions need to be open and integrated – the business needs the ability to bridge old and new technologies. It needs access to the latest features and functions that are enterprise grade and scalable, with a choice in deployment and commercial models so they can choose what works for the business and its budget.
Murphy concludes: “The reality is that things are only going to get more challenging, and we’re only two steps into the IDC list. Businesses need to adapt to an ever more challenging environment. They need to implement smart digital transformation, and doing so using the four steps mentioned above will help them build business resiliency.”