The digital premier class
The perfect line-up – this is the subject of heated debate in every sports studio before a football game. And rightly so. Filling the individual positions correctly is a key success factor. In other words, if you don't have the right players in your squad for the challenge ahead, you're at a disadvantage. This also applies to companies and their IT infrastructure.
By Gerald Klump
Football: for most people this is a game lasting 90 minutes with two teams, 22 players, a ball and a lot of passion. However, football is much more than what happens on the pitch. How successful a team is under the floodlights is decided behind the scenes, especially in professional football, long before the kick-off: it depends on who's the coach, the tactics and selecting the right players for the various roles.
Those who want to be well positioned and successful in terms of IT should take a leaf out of professional football's book. In particular, planning the squad is a perfect analogy for how to select your own IT infrastructure in order to make IT a success factor.
Defense or Offense: Where does the top line-up need to be?
Whether you need to put together a football squad or the right IT infrastructure: an objective is needed from the outset. In football, the most obvious thing would be to want to lift the championship cup or trophy in the air at the end of the game. This may be realistic for FC Bayern in the Bundesliga, but not for most other clubs. Staying in the league can also be a legitimate goal and success. That depends on the individual possibilities. This also applies to IT infrastructure. To be positioned like Microsoft, Amazon, Google & Co. is unlikely to be a realistic endeavour for most for cost reasons alone - and certainly no guarantee of success. First of all, it is a matter of defining goals for your IT infrastructure that correspond to your own possibilities, aspirations and strategy. There are a number of more cost-effective products and solutions for medium-sized companies that are perfectly suited to their league and plans, without having to play with the "big boys". Individual service providers such as Trivadis, for example, work with so-called "building blocks", prefabricated modules made up of solutions and products that a company can equip itself with according to its circumstances.
There are a number of more cost-effective products and solutions for medium-sized companies that are perfectly suited to their league and plans, without having to play with the "big boys".
But which providers and offers are suitable? The range of products, services and service providers in the world of IT is even greater than in the world of football transfers. In order not to lose sight of the essentials, the next step should therefore be to ask yourself the question: Based on my strategy, goals and aspirations, which strengths must be positioned where? Does my company need world class defense in the form of ultimate security standards or do I want to better exploit the potential with a modern machine learning solution to promote sales in the online shop? It is therefore about defining the roles and aspirations of your IT infrastructure in order to then be able to make the best possible selection of products, services and service providers. For example, you would be well positioned with an independent service provider who offers their own solutions and products as well as those of the hyperscalers. This leaves all options open for you to combine the components of your IT infrastructure as you wish, opt for the more expensive world class or the more cost-effective everyday solution as required and also count on an expert partner for your selection.
Get experienced software players into shape and consider substitutions
However, it is important to know: Even the best squad with the best strategy is always just a snapshot. Conditions change from season to season. While FC Barcelona's Tiki-Taka determined what was happening yesterday, the Bavarian pressing is setting the tone today. Being able to adapt to new circumstances and respond to them with the appropriate changes, this flexibility is also required in the technologies used in order not to be caught up and left behind by the competition. Forgetting that the competition is aligning their (game) plan more optimally with the customer, may mean suddenly losing track of the ball. It is therefore worth taking a look at the competition and current technological developments. Flexibility and innovation can also be automated to a high degree if you have an adaptable service provider or manufacturer at your side. They generally align their modules or products and solutions independently and adapt them regularly to the latest circumstances, develop new features for them and actively inform their customers about innovations so that there is no need for scouting inhouse.
Either way, however, it is advisable to subject your IT to a fitness test every now and then. Nothing against the tried-and-tested software and software maintenance - however, it would be wise to prevent unpleasant surprises with a thorough check. This can also be done with IT infrastructure and the right coach at your side, namely in the form of managed services from a specialised service provider. Their team of experts will then not only bring individual main players back on track for success, but will also take care of the entire "IT squad", i.e. applications and infrastructure, as required. This means that operations, support and maintenance are carried out throughout the entire life cycle, thereby ensuring further development and investment protection. So you get the whole package from the fitness trainer to the team doctor in one - and you no longer have to worry about a drop in performance.
While FC Barcelona's Tiki-Taka determined what was happening yesterday, the Bavarian pressing is setting the tone today. Being able to adapt to new circumstances and respond to them with the appropriate changes, this flexibility is also required in the technologies used in order not to be caught up and left behind by the competition.
Another option is to keep your eyes and ears open for possible substitution. Of course, the big names often set the tone on the pitch and have proven themselves. In certain positions, however, there are promising young talents who can fill a certain role at a lower cost and no less efficiently. Applied to the world of IT, however, this can also be a tool such as biGENIUS, which automatically makes an existing data warehouse fit again using the latest technology.
Analyse the game and approach innovation with enthusiasm
Unfortunately, it is often the failures that make it clear that a change was needed long ago. Here, too, football demonstrates with good reason that at best you can react swiftly to unsatisfactory results. If you have to fire the coach it is usually far too late. If you analyse your performance game by game, on the other hand, you will recognise problems as they arise and be able to act appropriately. In relation to the IT infrastructure of a company, this means that a company can not only avoid problems by regularly recording the current situation but also find potential for optimisation.
In order to play with the very best, however, you have to go the famous extra mile further than the others. It is not enough to simply identify problems and perfect the status quo. You have to work on it actively and plan ahead in order to move up to the higher league. There may be different ways of doing this, maybe the aforementioned change in the game plan will help, perhaps a new key player or the discovery of a talent who will score the important goals. Progress is crucial. After all, this is also the way to the digital premier class: Not just to not stand still, but to be able to run, be agile and innovative. To venture into IT projects that open up new opportunities and enable a company to be better and more efficient than the competition. If a company also takes this step, it could soon be the one that determines and shapes the game in their industry - and looks forward to the kick-off.