Emerging technologies are accelerating digital transformation, requiring business and process development and forward-looking governance. Business capabilities are the sum of all processes and assets (systems and data) within the company and comprise the entire business organisation, including any supporting functions within the organisation. Business capabilities are the key for developing the business and for utilising technology in the best possible way. Transformation comprises of the parts and processes of an organisation that are engaged in improving business capabilities. Interested in developing your skills related to business capabilities and transformations? Check our certification trainings.
Business Technology (BT)
Business technology can be simply defined as any application of information technology that is integrated into the operation of a business. When businesses first began their adoption of information technology over three decades ago, the standard procedure was to develop an internal IT department with its own infrastructure and capabilities.
As technology continued to grow and evolve, applications and IT services have come increasingly important to daily operations across industry verticals. In 2007, George F. Colony, the CEO of Forrester Research Inc., coined the term business technology. He went so far as to recommend that the abbreviation IT (information technology) be replaced with BT (business technology) to reflect the ubiquity of the business’s need for technological services and the increasing role of IT in business environments.
How Do Organizations Deploy Business Technology?
Business technology is information technology deployed in a business context. Information technology is broadly defined as the use of computers to store, receive, transmit and other manipulate data, and to perform operational tasks that require computing resources (processing power, etc.) Information technology includes a range of hardware, software and networking products and equipment that organizations leverage to deliver IT services. These IT assets make up the organization’s IT infrastructure.
One of the first challenges that an organization faces with respect to business technology is how to deploy it – what IT infrastructure will be used to host, manage and maintain an application or service? In general, enterprise organizations have three options for how they will access IT infrastructure to deploy business technology: on-premise IT, third-party hosting and cloud deployment.
On-Premises IT Infrastructure
Decades ago, when enterprises were first adopting information technology and integrating it into their core business models, on-premises deployment was the only available option for developing IT infrastructure. On-premises software is located within the physical data centers that are owned or leased and operated by the enterprise itself, as opposed to being hosted on an outside server or in the cloud.
The key benefit of on-premise IT infrastructure is that the organization retains complete and total control over the management, configuration, and security of the hardware and software infrastructure and any applications hosted on it. The primary drawback is that developing on-premises IT infrastructure can be expensive and even cost-prohibitive for smaller organizations. Enterprises that do on-premises IT take on many types of costs, including:
As an alternative to developing its own IT infrastructure, an enterprise can contract with a third-party hosting provider to provide the IT infrastructure to host a specific application or service. In this model, the organization does not have to invest capital in the development of its own IT infrastructure. Instead, they may pay a monthly or annual fee for a dedicated server that hosts the desired application or service. Third-party hosting providers may also handle data storage and administrative tasks like security monitoring and application updates.
Cloud Computing Technology
Cloud computing is the newest way that enterprise organizations are choosing to access IT infrastructure. Cloud computing is an IT delivery model where computing services (data storage, processing power, etc.) are offered over the internet. There are three general cloud service deployment models available to organizations today.
A private cloud, also known as an internal or corporate cloud, is a cloud deployment on a private network that can only be accessed by a single corporation or business entity. Private cloud infrastructure can be hosted by a third-party hosting provider or developed in-house and managed on-premises by a dedicated IT operations team. Private cloud deployments give organizations the maximum amount of control over their confidential and proprietary data while allowing them to leverage valuable cloud services like virtualization and resource pooling.
Enterprise organizations can access computing resources from a public cloud service provider (CSP) on a pay-per-use basis. Public cloud resources are dynamically provisioned, so the same server could be used to host an application or store data for several different organizations.
Public cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure have done their part to drive the adoption of business technology by making IT services more accessible for more organizations at a lower cost. Their common business model involves the pooling of large bodies of computing power and data storage resources to drive cost reduction through economies of scale. Public cloud providers support business technology with three unique deployment models:
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – In the IaaS model, the CSP provides networking, storage, servers and virtualization services. The customer organization is still responsible for managing operation systems, middleware, runtime, data, and applications.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – In the PaaS model, the CSP manages the entire hardware infrastructure and virtualization services, as well as operating systems, middleware and runtime. The customer organization manages just the application and data.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – In the SaaS delivery model, a CSP makes an application available through a web-based portal. The customer organization uses the application and pays a monthly or per-use subscription fee.
Support Business Technology in the Cloud with Sumo Logic
Business technology is becoming increasingly dependent on cloud computing as organizations migrate existing applications and launch new ones into private, public and hybrid cloud environments. A 2018 survey indicated that cloud computing has reached a staggering 96% adoption rate with the average respondent running applications in 3.1 cloud environments (and testing an average of 1.7 more) and 30% of all IT budgets going to cloud computing.
As cloud computing continues to mature, enterprise organizations will increasingly rely on cloud-native applications like Sumo Logic for critical services like security monitoring, business insights, and operational analytics. Sumo Logic helps organizations of all sizes secure and optimize business technology in the cloud.
Technology exists within many areas of the enterprise today. Often this technology is outside of the influence of the traditional CIO and technology function. Every business is different, and the type, location and amount of technology will rightly vary within each area.
Customer interfacing technology
The key characteristic of this technology type is interaction with the customer and the technology centres around the customer experience. Customer interfacing technology is all about the digitalisation of customer facing processes and services. Thus, it is in this area where digital initiatives have an obvious and direct impact. Improving or implementing these technologies drives a need to review end to end customer journeys. When these solutions are developed, the business should ensure that their strategy is not constrained to digital channels only. This constraint can be acceptable as a short-term strategy. However, as previously discussed, digitalisation is a much broader topic and needs to be viewed as a broader strategy.
This area consists of information technology embedded within the products the company sells: technology that can be operated, monitored and/or interfaced remotely and can interact with its environment 24/7. Thus, only the technology component of the product that fulfils these criteria can be seen as product technology, not necessarily the whole product itself. For example, a lawn mower itself does not fulfil these criteria, but in a robot lawnmower the embedded technology enabling its remote control and operation fits the product technology definition.
Whilst customer interfacing technology provides the gateway for interaction with your customers, it is often the technology within your product, whether it be a banking product, electronic goods or professional services to name a few, that provides the real value to customers. Technology innovations within this area are fast moving with new rich sources of data and new techniques such as rapid prototyping, agile development and new business models such as the “as-a-Service” model often used.
Operational technology contains all information systems used for managing, operating and monitoring automation systems and other “shop floor” systems. Information technology is expanding into this area even more than before. Many previously low-tech or even manual operations today start with an information technology enabled check, such as the servicing of a car. What used to be a purely manual operation is now assisted by operational technology such as a laser assisted wheel alignment machine as an example.
Business process technology
Business Process Technology consists of information technology and solutions that are used for managing business processes and executing business transactions, i.e. systems that support day-to-day business operations. Classic examples of business process technology are the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems used in organisations.
The future of business is technology
In today’s business world, information technology penetrates organisations from an increasing number of angles. This trend will continue to accelerate, a traditional technology department can no longer act as the only gatekeeper to an organisations’ technology.
In many organisations, the cooperation between the business and technology functions is not optimal and could enable greater business outcomes. To overcome this, business leaders must embed a culture of cooperation within the organisation so that technology management skills are fully applied as needed across all business units.
Transforming from traditional, siloed business and technology functions into business technology organisation also presents a fantastic opportunity to leverage technology management practices directly in the business teams where it can have the largest impact. Business technology will ensure that businesses are able to derive real value from technology, and ultimately, to better serve their customers.