The 4 laws of the new digital IS
At the heart of the digital transformation, a company’s information system must be robust, durable and secure. And that’s not all! In a context of rapid changes, the IS is a real transformation accelerator. It’s the end of the monolithic IS, with a new segmentation into four different systems and the emergence of a strategic System of Mediation.
Speed is essential for the digital transformation. In this context, the company’s IS is at the heart of a conflict: its own evolution is focused on the long term, whilst the digital environment is responsive and based on short term results.
However, a single IS, inherited from original computerisation, has long reigned supreme: the system is described as transactional, responsible for recording business activity and the company’s processes. In other words, an IS, accounting for the company’s business, modelling its processes on the former physical processes. With the advent of digital, the digital world is accessible to billions of people via the touch of a button ; the company is now to be found within a “nervous system” which extends from its customers to its employees, not forgetting partners, suppliers, the State, institutions and finance.
The information system must therefore evolve to develop into a digital IS which is robust, durable and secure. Undergoing profound change, the IS is becoming a transformation accelerator.
This transformation commits companies to splitting the digital IS into four different sub-systems: these are the four laws of the digital IS!
When considering the business, the System of Record, inherited from the traditional IS, is increasingly robust. When considering production, the System of Automation is focused on the real-time use of automated information and IoT. When considering clients, the System of Engagement is agile and swift. In the centre of this is the System of Mediation, a real cornerstone of the transformation.
Each system, firmly secured in its place, has its own rhythm, its own governance and its own position, crucial to a digital company’s value proposition.
1 – The System of Record: highly secure, widely available
The traditional IS, the System of Record, is increasingly robust and secure and is widely available. The reason for this is simple: it hosts critical business data and, generally, the ‘legacy’ of the company, its master data and its core processes. It is built around software packages or vertical businesses which must play their role by highlighting their strengths and sectoral specificities.
2 – The System of Automation: very real-time
Focused on the real-time use of automated information and IoT, the System of Automation collects information and pilots the various production machines and sensors. Through the real-time communication of systems responsible for order taking and the machines responsible for their manufacture, it is now possible to automatically and directly adapt production to demand, to meet ever-changing needs and to adapt to them in a reactive, customised way.
3 – The System of Engagement: very flexible and agile
Natively digital, open and agile, the System of Engagement responds to a company’s needs concerning its clients, partners and employees. The System of Engagement has clear objectives: to acquire, retain and increase revenue from clients through digital channels. The System of Engagement is a naturally Mobile First solution in a world in which mobility has become the norm. It is based on APIs, micro-services and processes displayed by the mediation system to engineer the necessary back office functionalities.
4 – The System of Mediation: the interface between the three aforementioned systems
When it comes to the System of Mediation, I’m saving the best for last! And with good reason, because it’s a real transformation accelerator, the spine of the digital IS. It combines the best of three worlds: the robustness of the System of Record, the agility of the System of Engagement and the real-time nature of the System of Automation. It exposes modular and open business services (API) both internally and externally and orchestrates applications of the transactional system, making the company’s digital agility possible. Simultaneously secure and open, it connects the company to the global digital ecosystem.
Businesses and IT Departments interact in an agile way
The only way to build a digital IS is based on agility. Agile, multidisciplinary teams which have a direct view of the company’s business, engaged in its provision. An agile organisation allows a gradual building of the digital platform, integrating the priorities which will better serve business projects; features with a strong added value are implemented first. We are worlds away from the tunnel effects created by the traditional methodologies of a system which was always focused on its long-term development, an illusory concept in the digital world.
Business teams and IT Departments teams interact. Technical teams, always at the forefront of technological monitoring, bring the market’s technological innovations to business teams so that they can implement them. In return, business teams are directly involved in the development cycle when a digital platform is being built, to allow them to change the target if necessary, depending on changing needs, so as to approve the developed features as soon as possible. And so the digital transformation wheel keeps turning, endlessly!