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By Vince DeLuca, CEO Logicalis US

Digital Enablement refers to the way an organization embraces technology and services to improve the customer experience (CX) and in doing so, often changes the nature of the organization itself. Getting an organization to that point requires strategy, planning and a bit of a journey.

Logicalis has seen a huge migration to the cloud. We call this the IT Transformation Journey and it’s something that every customer is working toward, although they are not always in the same stage of change. What’s really important is that this IT Transformation Journey has led to a new way of thinking among enterprise CIOs that Logicalis is calling The Service Defined Experience. We are seeing lots of disruptive technologies and business models converging to create new expectations for our IT customers among their end users – both internal and external.

Disruptive innovation in the enterprise, which first gained attention when BYOD walked in the doors, has led to a changing relationship between IT and its business customers. BYOD or “bring your own device” is not simply about taking a laptop or tablet into meetings and having access to email, business applications and data.  It’s about delivering a mobility experience that exceeds user expectations, allowing them to do their jobs optimally whenever and wherever they are at the time.  But for CIOs, BYOD can spell a nightmare in terms of the network, security and support requirements it demands. The role of IT is changing as a result.

For IT, the future is about strategy and guidance. Future IT leaders must surrender the idea of control as the role of IT within the enterprise. Control is old school; control is gone. That does not mean embracing chaos, however. It means adopting a different and more proactive stance that is more business responsive.

The role of the IT organization – and those who serve them in the channel – will soon be defined by the services and capabilities you offer, not the technologies you employ. That means adopting an operational model that provides strategy and guidance. This new model includes line-of-business (LOB) generating demand and IT employing the capabilities at its disposal to manage and provision the technology environment through a defined structure. This is because LOB users don’t want technology. They want solutions that meet their business needs – on-demand. To achieve this, IT organizations need to transform from Technology Defined to Services Defined thinking.

IT organizations need to present a menu of technology choices and customer experiences for their line-of-business users and external customers.  This Services Defined Enterprise will focus on providing access to consumption-led cloud services that qualify and meet the needs of the organization. It also includes taking advantage of available public structures and services – things like software-as-a-service for enterprise applications like email, CRM and marketing platforms.

Resources will still need to be provisioned, but with speed. Systems will need to be monitored, but with proactive steps to maintain user experiences. Software and hardware needs to be purchased and deployed, but with an eye toward consumerization of IT trends. The Service Defined Enterprise will focus less on what IT systems it owns and operates, and focus instead on which IT services it has access to, and the speed at which these services can meet its overriding business objectives.

The transition from a Technology Defined to a Service Defined Enterprise does not mean that IT as a business function will be any less relevant in the future.  In fact, if IT organizations can make the transition to the Service Defined Enterprise, their relevance will not diminish—it will increase – as will opportunities for the channel partners that serve them. This change in thinking will also allow CIOs to deliver the business innovation their organizations expect.

Much of this innovation is around next-generation technology platforms from mobile, social and cloud to big data and analytics. This is causing significant impact for enterprise IT departments and the organizations they serve. Those IT organizations that are agile enough to embrace new changes and challenges will find this phase brings tremendous new opportunities as well. Those IT organizations that have not already begun to transform the way they conduct business may experience an uncomfortable amount of change in a short amount of time.

It all starts with what we call the IT Transformation Journey. This IT Transformation Journey lays the technological foundation for the Service Defined Enterprise and the improved customer experience it makes possible.

Today’s business users measure their enterprise technology experience against their consumer technology experience. That takes a customer-focused, customer-centric approach to technology. Guess what? The enterprise is often lagging. Enterprise computing is not intuitive, not simple and sometimes lacks basic interoperability.

LOB users want simplified, consistent IT scalability to seamlessly meet growing business demands. It has to be useable, practical and above all, easy. That’s why they’re going outside of the enterprise today to use cloud services – they just work. Enterprise IT needs to provide the same – or higher – level of customer experience in order to remain both in control and relevant.

To achieve this improved level of customer experience – which includes a superior level of customer engagement and satisfaction – requires continually testing and deploying new service models and technologies. Digital Enablement, therefore, is built on strategy and supported by a proven delivery model. It doesn’t matter the type of business, where it’s located, or in many cases, how large the organization is; Digital Enablement and its focus on CX is pervasive and all consuming.