Blog | Avoiding IT Lock-In, And Why It Matters
The article first appeared in the Forbes Technology Council.
Welcome to the future where businesses are growing more complex and agile, and companies who have relied on a single-stack approach are struggling to engage their employees, win new customers and adapt to emerging technologies and digital disruption. Their method of maintaining mindshare is to force their employees to work within the confines of a closed infrastructure, creating hurdles and barriers that decrease productivity, innovation, and engagement.
In this new era, staying nimble is vital, and business flexibility is key to the bottom line. It’s a world where words like “ecosystem” and “IT infrastructure” are no longer just the concern of a CTO. This world is about to be powered by 5G; data volume is growing at an exponential speed. And many companies aren’t in a position to handle the large swaths of data that are coming their way, as their current infrastructures make it difficult to glean insights or to find meaningful ways to collaborate across teams.
The IT of the future is not going to be controlled by a handful of vendors. The game is evolving quicker than before, and that’s why lock-in has now become a loathsome proposition. Being beholden to a single option can mean that your data, systems, and apps are held hostage and companies are already struggling to keep up with rapidly changing technology and the traditional formal organizational limits.
Being a part of a robust ecosystem and having a flexible multi-cloud approach are IT imperatives today. Businesses must invest in and develop agnostic infrastructures that are capable of handling any service, on any device, so that the company can leverage the best of what so many vendors have to offer. Agnostic IT systems promote best business practices, both internally and externally, and can positively impact the bottom line.
Companies that do not participate in open, robust and flexible ecosystems are diminishing their future ability to compete because they cannot easily integrate new software systems, nor even have the capacity to deal with an ever-continuous influx of data. And, yes, it is often initially cheaper to worship at the altar of a new trendy vendor when building one’s infrastructure, but there will always be a future price to pay. The CTO agenda is changing so fast, that you have to establish proper oversight and governance mechanisms to make sure your company is making the right choices.
Though companies don’t need to pay the price of the past (and haphazardly transform under pressure), they can start to invest in the future and prepare for a world where best-of-breed cloud ecosystems can be leveraged to its full potential. In this world, tools will work together without requiring the manual and costly stitching together of systems. And, disruptors can leap forward to solve problems better, faster and offer a more focused, future-relevant vision. Additionally, agnostic systems will easily integrate and provide insights that will move businesses and workstreams forward, ultimately improving the bottom line.
For example, we decided, at Questback, to invest heavily in transforming our legacy architecture into one that can move between public clouds, as described by The New Stack. Doing this allows us to have a competitive edge because we can quickly innovate. And this inspires our employees to bring the greatest and latest innovation to our customers because it’s possible and achievable.
In my opinion, this is just the starting point in taking full advantage of the great business model that having a public cloud offers, and all businesses should invest in ensuring that they have flexible infrastructures so that they can evolve their business as the technology changes.
You don’t have to be big to win, just smart. It’s a game of wits, not strength, and competition can come from any corner. Stay nimble; prepare and lay the right foundation so that you can play the long game.
Interested in what else Frank has written about for Forbes? Take a look at his article on How the Gender Pay Gap Destroys Competitiveness.