Old technology must get integrated with new innovations

The tech industry is coming up with new innovations and better ways of doing things, one of the issues it confronts is: how will the new co-exist with the old? Old technology may never altogether cease to exist. It just gets hidden deeper and deeper in the system often creating a technology platform that is overly complex, inefficient and costly.

In our zeal to create innovative technology, the IT industry do not always try to stop in contemplating how it will integrate with the wonderful innovations that have come before and those that will come in the future. Most users/customers have invested millions on their existing IT systems and they cannot afford the disruption of a complete changeover. What distinguishes a great technology company from the rest is an acute appreciation of the need to make past innovations work with the new. Tech innovation has to have a purpose, it has to solve potential customer problems.

So how do tech companies sell their new products and services to corporates who want to hold on their old? Today, the corporate CIOs (Chief Information Officers) have moved beyond managing IT to playing a role in crafting business strategy, which means they are unlikely to buy new IT applications unless they are persuaded that it will yield tangible results like increased productivity and sales.

If you are managing IT from a business perspective, you have to know whether something you are offering deserves high priority because it is giving the company significant returns, or whether it deserves a lower priority because the business value is modest. A technocrat, who took charge at an IT company during a rough times in the company’s history, estimates that 80% of corporate IT budgets go into keeping their existing technologies going, leaving little available for improving the strategic value of the company through the use of technology.

They need to flip this equation with more efficient management of IT. The need to unify and simplify IT environments, which means less hardware running applications at higher capacity with better performance. There are some challenges in dealing with 30 years of accumulated technology.

Modern Aircraft have become more complex, the instrumentation has become more critical but also far more safe. This seemingly paradoxical result has been achieved because today the instrumentation gives the pilot an integrated view of the whole plane in a single glance.

Automation controls routine functions, leaving the pilot free to concentrate on the important things. The same thing is with IT. You shouldn’t have to manage IT with an incomplete view. You need a 360-degree vision that removes all the blind spots, so that executives can manage everything in the environment.

The companies in high-growth mode are experiencing the growing pains associated with integrating new acquisitions and new geographies. The challenges associated with a large scale integrated IT approach were tackled by some companies. For example, ABB had just completed a rollout of SAP integrated suite applications and compliance controls across ten countries, bringing the entire gamut of operations from inventory management to payroll all under one system. It has simplified ABB’s most important business processes, got everyone from CEOs down to division heads networking and over time will achieve significant savings.

The advantage of an Integrated Enterprise was addressing the inefficiencies that blocked fast decision making and processing of information and effective management of resources. At another company they are always attempting to integrate different threads of innovation to bring competitive products to the marketplace.