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Are you future-ready enough to outperform your competitors?

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You already know technology can help your organisation gain a competitive advantage. You are also very aware that executives around the company are taking more responsibility for IT purchasing decisions – but, in an age of digital disruption, how can you be sure theses are the right choices?

Help comes in the form of the Future Ready Index from researcher IDC. This specialist tool helps business decision makers like you to understand how your company is using its technology, how your competitors are taking advantage of disruptive innovation and how your organisation can stay ahead of the curve.

Your firm must have the agility and flexibility to grow in an unpredictable business landscape. Organisations in the Future Ready Index are Current Focused, Future Aware, Future Focused or Future Creators. So, how does your business compare and what do these catgeories mean? Let’s find out more.

Current Focused

Future technologies ahead of the curveThese firms take an evolutionary approach to IT infrastructure. Terms like cloud, big data and convergence might resonate but many of the approaches being taken across the firm are ad-hoc and unintegrated. Strategy and planning come second to fulfilling immeditate technological requirements. In short, current priorities trump thoughts of disruptive innovation.

The good news is just 16 per cent of firms are Current Focused. Yet the Index also suggests executives should not be disheartened if their firm finds itself in the Current Focused category. Future readiness is an on-going journey. IDC suggests organisations can see significant improvements in business outcomes from increasing their future readiness regardless of their starting point.

Future Aware

IDC suggests about a third of firms (32 per cent) fall into this category. Future Aware organisations are beginning to dabble in service-based delivery. Cloud pilots are being completed and big data projects are being run, with some influence from business decision makers. IT transformation at Future Aware firms is a team sport with some interaction between technology and business.

However, that collaboration tends to be focused on key areas. While business units might inform the IT department about use of the cloud, there is no strong governance strategy. While most people in the firm understand the power of digital disruption, too many technology implementations are focused on spot solutions to short-term, 12-month targets.

Future Focused

Strategy in these firms is much more firmly focused on disruptive innovation. The IT team takes a revolutionary grip to service delivery and has well-defined cloud catalogues from which the business can pick its products on-demand and on a chargeback model. Business units understand the power of big data and executives are able to use information to make key decisions.

Future Focused firms are in a great position. IT and line-of-business managers are aligned across all menanigful activities. Yet there is still more to be done to make the most of disruptive innovation. IT transformation is still driven by the technology team, rather than the business itself. These firms, which represent a third of organisations, can still do more to create a brighter future.

Future Creators

These organisations outperform all other groups and significantly outperform Current Focused in all business metrics. Such companies take a true, business-driven approach to IT transformation. Technology teams help business colleagues make the most of digital disruption. Cloud use is secure, audited and balanced. Analytics, meanwhile, provides represents a business differentiator.

IDC reports just 18 per cent of companies fall into the Future Creators category. You might feel your organisation is a long way from this point. However, IDC says firms risky falling further behind if they do not embrace future-readiness. Future-ready firms have lower operational costs, higher productivity and happier customers. Future Creator must be an ideal state for all firms.

Conclusion

Remember that future readiness is an on-going journey. Organizations can see significant improvements in business outcomes from increasing their future readiness regardless of their starting point. Take the test now and see how you can start making steps in the right direction.

Take the future ready index quiz to find out what steps your business needs to take to stay ahead of the curve.

 

Mark Samuels

Mark Samuels

Mark Samuels is a business journalist specialising in IT leadership issues. Formerly editor at CIO Connect and features editor of Computing, he has written for various organisations, including the Economist Intelligence Unit, Guardian Government Computing and Times Higher Education. Mark is also a contributor for CloudPro, ZDNetUK, TechRepublic, ITPro, Computer Weekly, CBR, Financial Director, Accountancy Age, Educause, Inform and CIONET. Mark has extensive experience in writing on the topic of how CIO’s use and adopt technology in business.

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