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ICT, Network Jan 20, 2017

Serving up a Digital Ecosystem instead of "IT Spaghetti"

Business leaders who had their appetite whet by the Williams F1 team at the BTYSTE Mindshare event, found plenty more to feed on at the Digital Ecosystem Management (DEM) thought leadership session, not least an analysis of “IT spaghetti”.

Hosted by BT and BearingPoint, the agenda was about empowering enterprises with a type of platform that has made the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple the biggest companies on the planet.

Simon Torrance, Senior Advisor at BearingPoint, left the audience in no doubt that they had to do something because economic slowdown was affecting every sector. To reboot their businesses, organisations needed to confront key challenges that are undermining their growth prospects. Key among them are “IT spaghetti”, organisational culture, regulation, and, most worrying of all, the idea that core business models may be flawed.

Platform for change

The need to rethink strategies and business models is also being driven by what the World Economic Forum has termed the fourth industrial revolution, fused by the blurring of the lines “between the physical, digital and biological spheres”.

Having identified that digital platforms provide sustainable business models for the giant internet companies, BearingPoint set about developing something similar for all the other enterprises struggling with digital transformation.

To get new services to market quicker, firms need what Torrance referred to as “Ninja IT” as opposed to legacy IT, the spaghetti that creates silos and inefficiencies across a business. A platform gives organisations the pace and agility they need while creating an ecosystem for communicating and sharing information seamlessly with customers, suppliers and partners.

Barry Keane, Partner at BearingPoint, described the goal of a digital platform:

“It’s looking at the capabilities and products that companies have and how they can be bundled with other complementary products and services to deliver something in the future that will be expected as normal.”

Connected ecosystem

BT liked the idea so much that it took on the BearingPoint platform and made DEM central to its own business and strategy. BT now it makes its same platform available to customers to use for their business needs, so they don’t need to invest and build their own,

John Gillam, CTO of BT Compute, described how the company’s DEM called ‘Compute Management System’ (CMS) replaces a silo or portfolio approach with an open ecosystem where disruption and co-operation contribute to business growth. He also talked about partnerships with the likes of Trend Micro for security and AWS and Azure for public cloud services. The BT endgame is a “single service experience” facilitated by a DEM platform that reinvents traditional business models for the digital age.

“We’re not doing anything we haven’t been doing for thousands of years. If you’ve got goods and services to sell you are going to exchange them for cash and there’s processes that makes it happens,” explained Gillam. He added:

“What has changed is the end-to-end delivery process that makes it a digital experience platform.”

Rather than build your own, like Airbnb, Amazon and Microsoft, BT is encouraging customers to share its platform. As a telco, BT is used to bringing services together for customers. With BearingPoint’s DEM platform, it’s simply taking it to a whole new level for the digital age. For BT it’s ultimately about putting choice and control in the hands of customers so they can grow their business in the digital age.