In order to excel in this dynamic landscape, companies need to be programmable. Programmable here isn’t about coding but the very nature of a company. Such companies are fluid and quickly embrace the fact that they do not know everything.
The insertion of metal gates in a microchip was a stirring moment in computing. The year 2007 marked the beginning of a technology era that became chaotic by default. Most of what we term as native digital innovations including Airbnb, Android, Twitter, Kindle, and even IBM Watson came into existence in this period. Disruption became an outdated term, markets started to get dislocated. Sample this: The cost of sequencing a person’s DNA fell from a staggering 100 million dollars to about 1,000 dollars.
Storage, processing, networking, software, and sensors started fusing rapidly (a.k.a The Cloud) to create platforms that scaled up capabilities and reduced time to market. Ideas started becoming products and products scaled instantly--creating companies that made competitor sets routined and industry boundaries vague. From then, the rate of technology growth has simply outpaced an organization's ability to learn and adapt. While policymaking constantly plays catch up, organizations aren’t given a long rope to respond, adapt, and evolve.
In order to excel in this dynamic landscape, companies need to be programmable. Programmable here isn’t about coding but the very nature of a company. Such companies are fluid and quickly embrace the fact that they do not know everything. They design structures and processes that are loosely coupled around a fixed core. Being programmable is about dynamic stability. Technologies like API, Microservices, Cloud, and Mobile are helping companies to create an agile fabric where business users, customers, and developers can collaborate. This fabric creates enterprises that are absorptive to fluctuating market needs and thereby programmable.
The agile fabric is the technology line-up that businesses need to make themselves programmable. It is the most efficient and valuable path leading from the assets of an enterprise to the customers it serves. Here is a rundown:
At the heart of a programmable enterprise are its APIs. Businesses decide the set of assets and services that should be accessible by their stakeholders and start exposing them via APIs. Such APIs reduce interdepartmental information barriers and give modularity that helps in de-siloing the enterprise. Banking enterprises like Citi and Bank of America are already leading the way in this API-driven open architecture model.
Enterprise developers and business owners can leverage such exposed APIs to create apps that help them automate a specific task or entire business process. To accelerate the pace of creation, RAD tools are used. Such RAD tools offer templates, prefabricated code modules, and out-of-the-box onboarded APIs for widely used tools, thereby allowing stakeholders to develop apps with simple drag-and-drop.
Consider this--developers who use Visual Studio would prefer Azure because of the seamless integration it has with Visual Studio. But data scientists, who are creating AI algorithms for automating customer care functions, might want to leverage Google’s Cloud Platform for the extensive AI capabilities it supports. To manage this diversity at scale, the old-school way of making an infrastructure choice and running it for a decade won’t cut slack anymore. Infrastructure and data platform choices need to be made on-demand. Leveraging infrastructure integration solutions enables businesses to seamlessly switch between multi-cloud, on-prem, and hybrid deployments. It also gives the needed compliance, governance, and infrastructure adaptability that enterprises need to support emerging users and use cases.
Once apps are available for enterprise-wide consumption, issues like multi-screen support, access control, availability, usage metrics, and analytics come up. This is important because the consumption layer is a user-driven layer and directly impacts the way users (internal/ customers/ partners) perceive the business. Touchpoint engineering solutions allow enterprise apps to have streamlined front-ends, central update mechanisms, admin consoles, and cross-platform rendering capabilities. Such solutions help enterprises deliver an omnichannel experience with zero set-up time.
The Agile Fabric: acting across value areas to bring about business agility
By adopting solutions that aid in the creation of the agile fabric, enterprises become programmable. Programmable enterprises desert their time-tested solid base that gives stability and graduate to a moving base that provides agility. They finally start to move with their markets. And most importantly, only they survive.