We find ourselves in a period of huge technological change. Known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), it builds on the previous three – industrialisation, power generation and electronic automation – and we are now experiencing the exponential growth and development of customer-centric connected products and services, supply chains and operations being driven by a vast network of cyber-physical systems.

This growth presents both a challenge and an opportunity to businesses who are looking to leverage newfound technological capability to drive a competitive edge, or at the very least, not be left behind.

The literature on the 4IR suggests the interconnectivity of devices (regardless of type) will be the key driver to unlocking business growth in this period of change. Likewise, it raises a question about where the true value of a business can sit.

The challenge for businesses is how to move forward from their legacy states to take advantage of these exponential technologies. Deloitte Tech Trends 2018 makes some key observations for leaders to consider on the use and direction of travel of digital technologies, including the importance of APIs as key building blocks. The report recommends that companies should not just focus on creating APIs to fulfil the immediate needs of their projects, but should instead focus on building digital assets that can be reused and extended.

This encourages a “platform first” approach, reimagining core systems as micro-services using modern architecture standards with a focus on defining key performance indicators that identify the value of these services.

In addition, Tech Trends 2018 calls out a new core comprising central enterprise functions, like finance and the supply chain, that are fundamentally being transformed by the convergence of various technologies.

This new core looks to promote the use of elements like RPA, IoT connected devices, automation, analytics and ERP modernisation to drive greater value and visibility across the processes that manage the day to day operations of an organisation.

Underpinning this new core direction, as with the API imperative, is the need to provide greater connectivity across technologies. By leveraging the best of what each technology has to offer, organisations are able to, by connecting these core systems, unlock hidden value within their organisation and provide a greater competitive advantage.

With either the API imperative or new core approach, they require a platform to both build on, but also the ability to integrate core data between systems, to ultimately produce the analytics that will release the value of that front end investment.

Developing technology at the end of the value chain will only provide limited benefit to most organisations. This is because there are likely businesses that already have a solution that responds to that niche or meets that specific need. Where a solution doesn’t exist, by using both modern technologies and development methodologies (DevOps, Agile etc.) organisations can leverage a number of building blocks available to make a low-cost, fail-fast proof of concept model that will determine the right solution. Leveraging these systems is only one part of the equation.

Some businesses do not want to own the software code that drives their transformation, and instead want to focus on outcomes and delivering value. To evolve under the 4IR an organisation must focus on adaptability and being a data-driven organisation that places the customer (be that internal or external) at the centre of their strategy. The organisation must focus on developing offerings, services and opportunities that add to the value chain by engaging the customer in the way that they‘d like to be engaged, thereby allowing organisations to stay ahead of the business curve rather than getting bogged down in the detail.

To do this in both a cost-effective and value-driven manner, it’s critical to invest in a platform that allows for the integration of core systems. The platform should support master data management and allow for the development and management of APIs and micro-services, while building on modern architecture that will bring things like blockchain, IoT, cloud and advanced analytics into the value chain.

To support our customers in moving to this future, Deloitte Digital has been evolving its technology capabilities and recently added Dell Boomi to its growing suite of offerings. The driver for us, like our clients, is to provide greater value through integrated systems. By providing a low-code/no-code environment where data is available, accurate and real-time, while using modern architecture that can integrate anywhere at any time, our clients are able to have a platform that will support them moving through this heightened period of change with a focus on developing value for the business rather than the code the businesses operates on.

Find out more about our digital consultancy and capabilities at Deloitte Digital New Zealand

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