They say it's what's on the inside that counts. Yet, while we're still not quite sure who "they" are, this mantra certainly applies to IT. When it comes to implementing new systems and integrating the latest technology, companies must develop an infrastructure that allows staff to tap into customer data and improve the consumer experience effectively, with regard to both time and money. But, as businesses continue to balance new solutions with their legacy systems, streamlined internal operations are more important than ever, as the competition grows ever more fierce and formidable.Here, we speak with Miten Marfatia, CEO at EvolveWare, to determine why IT efficiency remains essential for long-term success, and how companies can increase engagement via modernization:
1to1 Media: Why must companies lay the foundation for an effective, strong IT infrastructure if they wish to take advantage of the latest technologies to wow today's digitally inclined customers?
Miten Marfatia: Having a strong, flexible IT infrastructure allows firms to implement new technologies efficiently, maintain technologies easily, and scale operations (i.e., update software in response to accommodate growth and changing business conditions). This is impossible with an inefficient infrastructure where maintenance takes away a large percentage of the budget. To benefit from and sustain the latest technologies, even CMS or POS systems, firms must determine how to revamp or completely overhaul their existing dated systems.
1to1: What constitutes this strong IT infrastructure in today's market? Which industries are currently leading the way and which are lagging behind?
MM: All industries today seem to be lagging behind with respect to creating and maintaining an efficient IT infrastructure. Companies across verticals want to take advantage of the latest technologies to "wow" their digitally inclined customers. But new innovations, no matter how tempting, are impossible to implement without a budget and there will be no monies available if an IT infrastructure requires high maintenance. While almost all industries have started reviewing their options, some have begun testing the waters with solutions to update their IT infrastructure. Surprisingly, State Governments seem to be most active in pursuing IT modernization efforts.
1to1: Why do companies continue to invest in their old legacy systems as they also attempt to integrate new customer experience tools? How do such behaviors impact both back end systems and customer interactions?
MM: Most companies have multiple legacy systems and the process of modernization is not a quick and easy one. The right team and tool has to be selected and, more importantly, a specific process followed. While some tools can reduce the time it takes to complete such initiatives by 40+ percent, the modernization period is finite, and depends on the complexity of the project.
But business cannot come to a standstill just because a legacy system needs modernizing. As business conditions and customer expectations change, companies are forced to make continuing investments in their dated systems, even in tandem with the modernization process. Data management becomes challenging when transitioning from a legacy system to its modern equivalent. Both systems will need to run in parallel to ensure equivalent functionality. As such, having current data is critical to keeping operations running smoothly and ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction. The risk of losing or not maintaining updated data (e.g., sensitive customer information and records) would result in a public relations nightmare.
1to1: How do said legacy systems ultimately prevent businesses from pursuing customer-facing innovation? How can they remediate these systems without taking on unintended risk and expenses?
MM: End-users flock to new technology, be it mobile, social, or cloud computing. If businesses don't have the technical foundation needed to accommodate these new and emerging solutions, consumers will move on to a competitor that does. The important thing for businesses to note, however, is that there is no "silver bullet" for modernizing legacy systems and processes. Remediating systems without unintended risk or cost is a three-pronged approach. The right team, the right tool, and the right process are all necessary components of a successful legacy modernization.