How to Improve Business Agility and Reduce Risk

Are you looking for a way to reduce business risk, increase your revenue growth, and keep costs under control? The key to making all of these happen is to improve your business’s agility—your ability to quickly and effectively respond to trends and business changes. But your current technology setup may be holding you back. Let’s take a look at how the technology that powers your business may be preventing you from achieving the level of agility you need to be competitive.

Tech Setup: On-Prem/Legacy Apps

If you’re still running your business’s mission-critical applications on legacy or on-prem systems, there are many factors that could be impeding your agility, including:

Siloed data: With critical data trapped in a siloed, complex legacy infrastructure, it’s hard for your business to move quickly; a seemingly simple request can quickly turn difficult when dealing with data that is stovepiped into single application stacks. Siloed data creates a negative domino effect on your business, slowing your development capabilities and significantly increasing the necessary time-to-market for any new business initiatives. This, in turn, can cause you to miss your growth and revenue targets, further impacting your business.

Poor UX: Another impact that legacy systems can have on your business’ agility is that of a poor user experience. Issues with performance are likely to frustrate not just employees but also customers, who may end up taking their business elsewhere and spreading the word about their maddening experience. For ecommerce businesses, lost order transactions and abandoned shopping carts may, unfortunately, become the norm as your technology continues to deliver less-than-stellar performance.

Unable to support business dynamics: To be agile, your business must be capable of constantly changing—everything from new SLAs and new projects to new customer requirements and new initiatives. But if you’re stuck in an on-prem environment, reacting and responding to these changes is no easy feat. You need to have enough hardware capacity and performance to cover your peak needs, but you don’t want to overprovision resources and waste money. Figuring out the “perfect” amount of resources you’ll need can be a guessing game—not to mention time-consuming and expensive.

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting rise in employees working from home is a prime example of this. Kaminario is seeing skyrocketing interest across industries in remote working platforms, and increased demand for resources specifically among its healthcare and health tech customers. If you’re in a similar situation and still use a traditional on-prem environment, your only option to scale is to add hardware and software–but with supply chains disrupted, that may not be a possibility.

Tech Setup: Public Cloud Applications

Moving your business-critical apps to the public cloud gives you more flexibility than an on-prem setup, but even there, agility issues are still present.

Migration risks: Certainly, the cloud environment offers much more flexibility and potential for agility than on-premises environments. But the reality is that migrating your applications to the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all process. Migration projects tend to take longer than anticipated, and there’s always a certain level of risk that things will break and business will be impacted. Additionally, there’s no guarantee on a specific return on your investment; the inherent potential dangers that accompany any migration project mean that your business value may be unpredictable at best or completely unrealized at worse.

Lock-in issues: To be truly agile, your business must have the ability to make technology decisions that best support your roadmap and revenue goals. But if you’re working with a public cloud provider, you likely have “flexibility” in name only. Certainly, you may want to take advantage of the offerings of another vendor, but once you’ve gone through the time and expense of refactoring your applications to perform on a specific cloud’s infrastructure, the thought of going through the process again is not realistic. Vendor lock-in—whether the vendor’s terms create the situation, or you simply have too much invested to move—is a real agility challenge.

Cost issues: The Coronavirus and the global uncertainty around it is creating a number of business challenges as companies rush to scale while simultaneously trying to keep things “business as usual” with remote workers. And if you’re in a public cloud environment, you at least have the ability to spin up quickly to address this demand. But what you may not be ready for is the bill —all of this ramping up can come with a price tag you didn’t expect nor plan for.

The Secret to Improving Agility

If any of these situations are happening in your own business, or you’re reassessing your business agility right now, take heart—there is something you can do to boost your agility and reduce business risk. In the next blog post in this series, we’ll talk about the steps your business can take to enhance your agility and will explain what you can look forward to as a result of your improved ability to quickly respond.

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