When it comes to technology, many business leaders may be change-averse, budget-conscious and hesitant to explore new ways to keep business running or even to spur growth. This is often especially true for nontechnology companies. But in today’s world of digital transformation, every company is a technology company, or soon will be, in one way or another.
With the onset of COVID-19, we’ve seen countless businesses and industries struggle with new challenges. Many companies were able to pivot – providing alternate or additional services and products – and flourish. Others haven’t been as fortunate. The pandemic has shone a light on the need for companies to be able to adapt – and do it quickly. This is where the cloud comes in. And this is where channel partners need to step up and add more value to their clients.
Concerningly, many IT professionals don’t think their company’s IT infrastructures are mature enough to support a major pivot. According to the 2021 InfoTech Trends Report, only 6.4% of IT professionals say IT is ready to help their organization transform, and only 14% expect that IT can help their organization expand. As it stands, most companies are utilizing IT as a way to keep business going as usual, but IT can be a catalyst for change when the modern approach is implemented. Companies must identify and close the gaps within their current IT infrastructures to plan for and achieve future success. The problem is, many in-house IT professionals don’t understand what those gaps are, much less how to fill them. Channel partners must work even closer with clients, recognize when the cloud isn’t being leveraged to conduct business, and recommend, at the very least, they speak with a reputable consultant.
Questions for Future-Proofing
There’s no single checklist that ensures a company can successfully withstand any natural disaster, pandemic or other crisis, but answering these questions is a great place to start when evaluating existing IT infrastructures and considering possible shortcomings:
- Have you taken steps to future-proof your operation?
- Do your critical systems provide the flexibility you would need to pivot quickly?
- Are you positioned to offer new services or products digitally?
Channel partners can ask themselves these questions when analyzing whether they’re helping clients prepare for transformation:
- Have I adequately conveyed existing pain points that could cause future problems?
- Can I provide more details or resources that prove the importance of a modern approach?
- Can I recommend another channel partner that can assist with future-proofing?
- Do I truly understand the company’s future business goals as opposed to simply their current IT needs?
The cloud offers benefits for companies that may need to adapt over time. Pandemic or not, every company will reach a point where it needs to adapt. A modern application development approach can provide the ability to be responsive to a changing market with quick delivery of products or services. It can also allow companies to enter an emerging market, and see if it works right away. Being able to fail fast is a benefit because it costs less.
Though the time and resources invested into updating old systems or starting from scratch may be daunting, they’re a necessary investment. Having a modern application development approach – or an approach that enables swift innovation through cloud-native architectures – has been proven to be integral in helping businesses survive and thrive during turbulent market changes, as well as during business as usual.
A balanced, modern cloud solution should effectively enable:
- Speed, releasing high-quality code to the market as fast as possible with everything being automated to increase velocity, quality and predictability.
- Reliability, with secure cloud tenants to host mission-critical applications.
- Flexibility, allowing for fast growth opportunities.
- Savings, lowering overall operating costs.
While many business leaders believe we’ve been in the digital age for years and assume their IT infrastructures have been modernized, most still aren’t. And despite the fact that digital products are the future, many businesses still aren’t on the cloud. According to 2021 IDC FutureScape Predictions, net-new production-grade cloud-native apps will increase to 70% of all apps in 2024. In 2020, that number was only 10%. The opportunity to spawn growth with the help of IT is largely underestimated.
Channel partners should also keep in mind that their point of contact with a business might not be actively advocating for change. While a good first step is sharing information and ideas that could enable change with the existing point of contact, it could make sense to begin conversations with others within the business, too.
Whether it’s building a new, customized cloud-native application or modernizing a complex legacy system, look for a provider that offers the tactics needed to modernize – cloud architecture, cloud-native application development and DevOps. At a minimum, seize the opportunity to re-evaluate your strategic IT plan by identifying specific business cases that favor modernization and business resiliency.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” the Roman philosopher Seneca once said. Will you have the knowledge to prepare customers?
Chris Konow is the chief operating officer at CleanSlate Technology Group, an Indianapolis-based IT consultancy equipped to build new cloud-native applications and modernize legacy applications. Follow him on LinkedIn or @CleanSlate_TG on Twitter.