Forget Future-Proofing And Focus On Future Enablement

An experienced and results-oriented senior management executive with over 20 years of progressive career in Procter & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, Dell and DXC in Asia. Sandeep has proven track record of leading teams to deliver financial and operational results. Demonstrated ability to establish solid partnership with client/customers in their business transformations garnering their trust.

To compete in today's fast-paced, digital world, business success hinges on sustained and impactful digital transformation. Many businesses in India are aware of this and want to increase their tech spending to modernise effectively. A study by the IBEF found that IT spending is expected to contribute 10 percent of the national GDP by 2025.

However, predicting how technology will evolve is never straightforward. While businesses strive to ensure they can anticipate the ebbs and flows of techno-
logical advancement, the key lies in building software that is equipped to anticipate these changes before they impact operations.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to the term 'future proofing' being bandied about to secure business longevity. Unfortunately, many businesses are so stifled by legacy technology that they are unable to realistically future proof within a reasonable time frame. Instead, organisations grappling with the challenges of trying to modernise and keep up with more tech-savvy peers should look to ‘future-enablement’.

"Companies that operate in the cloud are free of monolithic infrastructure costs, fiveyear equipment renewal cycles and forklift upgrades for infrastructure"

From Future Proofing To Future Enablement
Future-enablement can be defined as putting in place the foundations to allow for a pivot that positions the business to make use of new technologies quickly and seamlessly. It requires inherently flexible solutions so that they can integrate into your technology stack and make big-picture contributions across your organisation.

On the flip side, future Proofing typically involves deciding which solution has the staying power to f your current and planned business trajectory. This may not be viable for a good number of businesses as it rests on knowing exactly what your digital ecosystem is like today and where it is going, which is not something many businesses can do. Furthermore, it is also likelier that what the business needs today will be drastically different from what it needs tomorrow.

Flexibility: The core of Future-Enablement
Future enablement involves looking for modularity in each element of a technology solution and avoiding lock in as much as possible. Not only does this give enterprises the ability to change functional elements of IT in line with changing business objectives, but it also allows them to better respond to disruption. For instance, the sudden shift to remote working forced at the outbreak of COVID-19 was a fine example of how flexible, mobile friendly network and data infrastructure was critical to skirting the painful obstruction to operations. The gulf between businesses that could navigate this disruption and those that can't has become night and day. But even on a more basic scale, regular developments associated with growth, like opening a new office or merging with another company, can drastically change your operational needs and the demands you make of your IT solutions. Flexibility is crucial in these instances, too.

Another impediment to flexibility is vendor lock-ins. Ultimately, options are good, and the more viable options in hand, the better as businesses are not shackled by large or long-term commitments. Even if you get a significant pricing discount for a long-term commitment, you must weigh that discount against the cost of paying for a solution that suddenly cannot meet your needs.

In lieu of that, organisations should weigh how to leverage a commodity-based consumption model. Companies that operate in the cloud are free of monolithic infrastructure costs, five-year equipment renewal cycles and forklift upgrades for infrastructure. Instead, when moved to a consumption-based operating model, you can accommodate most big changes through software refreshes or staff training.

Organisations must also be cognisant that future enablement cannot exclude the importance of planning and perception

Implementing a fully defined, carefully integrated strategy.
Businesses that are thriving today have not even the remotest misalignment between IT strategies and their overarching business objectives. To a tee, these nimble frontrunners develop and implement strategy by incorporating people, processes and culture. This ensures their organisations have open lines of communication especially between IT and business users which, in turn, gives them the ability to navigate changes with speed.

They also possess the ability to procure services quickly, which enables the running of complex, longterm RFPs in a fast paced agile environment. They equip themselves to establish flexible agreements with their providers and look for those consumption based service models. As a result, they gain the ability to scale up via utilisation.

Proper integration between IT and the business generates tangible benefits. Marketing teams, for instance, should be able to launch new products much more quickly in a cloud environment. But they must remember to talk with IT teams before launching new campaigns to ensure that resources are available and ready to scale with demand. You might want to start running things like AIOps, to enable that flexibility to keep your team free to support the business.

Data gravity and egress fees: The bane of flexibility
While the benefits of the cloud have been reaped over the years, new challenges are emerging. Stemming from the large quantities of data organisations have amassed in the cloud, there's been a paralysis largely because a pervasive never delete data mentality has introduced data gravity. This concept underlines the event of resources gravitating towards where data is stored.

This means that if all the organisation's data is in one cloud platform, a tool set on another platform cannot be used. To prevent this, many companies are wisely turning to multicloud. But even then, they often face exorbitant data-egress fees when trying to move data out of one hyperscaler to utilise it on another hyperscaler.

Aligning attitudes and perceptions
Organisations must also be cognisant that future enablement cannot exclude the importance of planning and perception. Senior leadership have a crucial role in this, as they can be prime movers by reviewing how attitudes and perceptions affect the future of the business. It is as simple as good leaders will make IT decisions based on a keen eye for what the future could look like. And doing that rests a strategy that views IT investments through its ability to meet current and future business needs.

While the concept of future proofing may have held some merit in the past, the relentless pace of change and technological advancements render it an outdated approach. Instead, future enablement offers a more pragmatic and adaptive strategy. By embracing change, fostering agility and innovation, prioritising continuous learning, and nurturing collaborative partnerships, individuals and organisations can position themselves to thrive in an unpredictable future. Let go of the illusion of futureproofing and embrace the power of future enablement to unlock new possibilities and seize the opportunities ahead.