Information Technology: Will You Evolve or Be Left Behind?
Staying up-to-date with the latest business technology is a daunting task that many companies often set as a low priority. It could be updating their operating system when it is no longer supported or buying a new server when theirs finally wears out.
When it comes to IT, the mindset of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” won’t put a company on track for success in the current market of any industry.
“Digital transformation has evolved from a trend to the center of business strategy,” says Jesse Kegley, managing partner of Emerge IT Solutions in Erlanger. “Every chief executive knows that the only way their company is going to excel in today’s highly competitive and disruptive market is through speed of innovation and focus on the customer experience.
“Amazon, Netflix, Uber and AirBnB are winning because they took a close look at the customer experience and flipped it on its head. They used technology to disrupt the way their industries were previously conducting business and forced everyone to approach it differently. And we now know all too well that companies, both large and small, have been taken out practically overnight by innovative organizations like these that used technology to deliver a superior client experience.”
One way to judge if your organization or business is ready to stay competitive is to turn to the current market and see where it’s going.
“In addition to digitization becoming an integral part of the overall business strategy, we can also see how essential cloud computing is across the board,” says Kegley.
“Cloud computing is no longer just a flashy buzzword. It’s quickly becoming the real standard of operating and we’ve seen massive transformation and transition to working from the cloud in all market segments regardless of industry.”
While businesses in the past operated from physical drives in their computers, today’s businesses enjoy the flexibility of accessing remote servers anywhere there is an internet connection.
“Cloud computing has expanded to a line of business applications, file sharing, security, voice over IP and even a great platform for teams to collaborate,” Kegley says. “There is virtually a cloud option for consumption of every piece of modern technology.”
Kegley and the team at Emerge have learned from experience that it is never beneficial to ignore or resist change and innovation in the IT market.
“The saying in our industry used to be ‘grow or die’ and today it is ‘evolve or die,’” he says. “Companies that embrace these market transitions will be more competitive in their marketplaces while companies that fail to embrace them will be left behind.
“Not only will those companies no longer grow, they will slowly cease to exist.”
The first step of this evolution is to form a concrete plan.
“Organizations and their senior leadership teams need to begin developing digital strategies that are needed in order to make it in the future. When they sit down to hammer out this plan, I believe there are four questions they need to ask themselves and then be able to answer:
“How will digitization affect our current business model and positioning within our industry’s value chain?
“How can we identify and enter business areas where value is being created, both inside and outside of our industry?
“What areas of our business model are vulnerable to disruptions from new entrants and how can we best address them?
“Which capabilities do we need to build in order to be a leader in our field?”
Emerge has taken the motto ‘evolve or die’ to their clients and have helped them find the best answers to Kegley’s four questions.
“IT infrastructure is essential to supporting any digital strategy and we’re all in when it comes to helping our clients to make the best decisions for their unique situations,” says Kegley. “This process often starts with assessing their current network capabilities and includes components of cloud computing, application workloads, ongoing support of technology and end-user adoption.
“We have always been exceptional in helping our clients by supporting their digital strategies as this is key to our own future success.”
Glenn Warden, chief information officer at Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel, agrees.
“With Emerge, I don’t see them as just a vendor because working with them has really been a partnership,” he says. “This partnership has seen both of our businesses grow as we work together.”
When shopping for a firm that could advise, support and manage their IT infrastructure eight years ago, Warden not only wanted a team that was skilled and knowledgeable, but also based nearby.
“After looking at a lot of other IT providers, it became clear that having a local presence was very important,” he says. “Emerge was one of the first local firms that provided the full encompassing skill set that we were looking for.”
Having a local helpdesk has also been beneficial for Warden.
“When someone’s computer goes down and you’re under a deadline, sitting on hold with an IT technician who is miles away from you or going through the steps of an online helpdesk can’t compare to a person that can come to my office at the drop of a hat,” says Warden. “National firms just can’t do that.
“When a frustrating computer problem pops up you need someone to respond. Emerge is really as good as it gets. They’re very responsive and a great resource.”
And after eight years with Emerge, Bahl & Gaynor isn’t looking to switch.
“As a matter of fact, we just had a third-party assessment done of our IT to see how we’re doing,” says Warden. “Emerge got a solid ‘A’ on all of the categories. They’ve met industry benchmarks, their costs were competitive and their services were using the best technologies out there.”
Emerge customizes services to fit their clients and to keep them competitive in a constantly changing market, just like they did for Bahl & Gaynor.
“The companies that we have seen win and continue to win are companies that approach technology as an enabler to new business processes and new innovations and new customer experiences,” says Kegley. “I have great concern for companies that do not evolve, even if they show some short-term growth, because, in the end, they will operate with a great amount of risk of eventually becoming extinct.”
Emerge IT Solutions is located at 1895 Airport Exchange Boulevard, Suite 170, Erlanger, KY 41018. For more information, call 859.746.1030 or visit emergeits.com.