The Three Pillars of Modernisation

The Three Pillars of Modernisation

Sally Eaves 03/12/2021
The Three Pillars of Modernisation

Digital transformation is reshaping work and experiences across all industries and all walks of life.

Acceleration in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automation, Cloud, Edge Computing, IoT, Blockchain and 5G has brought us to the brink of a new era of convergence and integration. This, in turn, is driving huge new volumes of data, which, correctly harnessed, are creating new opportunities for the next generation of cognitive enterprises.

But to capitalise on these opportunities, such businesses need to focus on more than just technology. Modernisation requires just as much emphasis on culture, people, skills and shared values.

With every business context different, such modernisation can take many forms. This piece focuses on the three vital pillars that should always be considered to support strategy development and, critically, bring that strategy to life. This will help enable your business to build and modernise applications to maximise both agility and return on investment, whilst also reducing technical debt and the risk of organisational disruption. 

Pillar 1: People and Processes 

People and processes are key to every successful modernisation. Indeed, a lack of IT and business alignment has been identified as one of the leading reasons for IT project failure for many years. Project success is driven not just by our technology and data investments - but by sustained investment in people and organisation too.

So how can we better align our organisation and catalyse its modernisation? One approach is to apply enterprise design thinking to better drive alignment between stakeholders and initiative sponsors across business and IT throughout business units development and operations. Encapsulated by the co-creation, co-execution and co-operation ethos of IBM Garage, which offers on-location incubation for rapid innovation, this proven approach gets to the heart of users’ problems to deliver focused, empathy-driven solutions. It really is people, tech and culture in partnership. 

Pillar 2: Shared Values 

Behind every meaningful and sustained modernisation is a clear and shared purpose. The impact to business and the impact to society must be centre stage.

To come together on purpose and to optimise our capacity for modernisation, we need to think about who is building this future, and, ultimately, who it is for. Inclusion, diversity and belonging are at the heart of creating shared value while also being a key catalyst for innovation, as multiple studies have shown. We can do well by doing good.

And this is not about simply doing “one good thing”. It’s about a sustained and embedded commitment that starts with culture, values and investment in people across a diversity of experience - and is reflected in the technology that is imagined, designed and ultimately created.


Pillar 3: Technology and Architecture 

Finally, it is essential to align and integrate applications, data and systems to create an infrastructure that is agile and responsive to change – and nowhere has the need been more evident than in the IT resilience and business continuity demands triggered by COVID-19.

This requires strategic reflection, prioritisation and balance. On the one hand, it means reducing operational costs and technical debt by, for example, squeezing the cost of maintaining and running current applications. And on the other, it is focused on selecting and introducing new technologies to improve cybersecurity, enhance stakeholder engagement and re-energise and personalise employee and customer experience by drawing on data-driven insights from using AI and machine learning. 

In increasingly hybrid and multi-cloud environments, key success factors will include development time and cost, operational integration, the quality and accessibility of technology support, visibility, security and governance. Trusted partnerships can make a critical difference here, not least through the availability of external expertise and reference architectures to provide a clear roadmap to build, extend and deploy an application.

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Sally Eaves

Tech Expert

Dr. Sally Eaves is a highly experienced Chief Technology Officer, Professor in Advanced Technologies and a Global Strategic Advisor on Digital Transformation specialising in the application of emergent technologies, notably AI, FinTech, Blockchain & 5G disciplines, for business transformation and social impact at scale. An international Keynote Speaker and Author, Sally was an inaugural recipient of the Frontier Technology and Social Impact award, presented at the United Nations in 2018 and has been described as the ‘torchbearer for ethical tech’ founding Aspirational Futures to enhance inclusion, diversity and belonging in the technology space and beyond.

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