What it means and the imperative for the enterprise
Technology disruption is here to stay.
In 2015, The Wall Street Journal renamed its “Marketplace” section to “Business and Tech.” The change came after 27 years because, as the Journal accurately stated, “Every business is a technology business.” No longer was it possible to analyze the market without considering the disruptive influence of technology.
Today I see a need to take the Journal’s assertion a step further. Not only is every business a technology business, but every business needs to have a digital strategy if it plans to survive and thrive in the digital disruption that surrounds them.
Organizations that take the traditional view of IT as a cost center likely will go away. In their place, we’ll see organizations that look at IT as a strategic weapon for their business.
These organizations will integrate IT leadership into the core business as they begin building out digital strategies that drive new business models, improve workforce productivity and create personalized customer experiences. This convergence of IT and the business will be critical to long-term success.
Digital success will not only require IT to be part of the business but it will also require IT to move at the speed of the business. One of the biggest challenges standing in the way of this is the relentless introduction of new technology.
With so much technology coming at them, it’s easy for enterprise IT staff to get stuck evaluating one-off, emerging technology products. This is an ineffective and inefficient use of their time. Instead, next-generation IT needs to be focused on building digital platforms that grow the business by improving employee productivity and customer experience.
World Wide Technology (WWT) recognized this problem several years ago. We decided that the only way to eliminate the pains of evaluating new technology and help our customers reach their desired outcomes was to build an IT innovation ecosystem.
This innovation ecosystem is known in the industry as the WWT Advanced Technology Center (ATC). The ATC is a physical campus of buildings and labs that have been virtualized and made accessible to our customers, partners and employees around the world via our proprietary cloud portal.
Through the ATC, we design, build, educate, demonstrate and deploy innovative technology products, integrated architectural solutions and transformational digital experiences for our customers around the globe.
We bring hundreds of technology companies into a physical yet virtualized environment via the ATC. These companies are anchored by Silicon Valley heavyweights like Cisco, VMware, NetApp and Dell EMC but also include emerging tech players like Tanium and Dedrone. Individually these companies are impressive, but collectively, when integrated by WWT, we produce game-changing solutions.
The technology products and platforms in our labs are quite impressive, as validated by our customers, but the engineering talent that works side by side with our customers and partners is what drives the real innovation. The ATC ecosystem creates a multiplier effect of knowledge, speed and agility that benefits our customers anytime, anywhere, around the world.
The ATC cuts technology evaluation from months to weeks, sometimes days. What we consistently hear from enterprise customers is that it’s the knowledge, speed, agility and independence we provide that helps them make the most informed technology and business decisions.
As our lab engagements have grown more complex and technology integrations more inter-connected, we realized the need to encapsulate our intellectual property to further accelerate our enterprise customers’ ability to evaluate, architect and implement new technologies.
We complement our ATC ecosystem of engineers with 500 agile application developers who work collaboratively with virtual teams to build digital experiences for our customers. This addition of developers working collaboratively with our ATC engineers is what enables our unique ability to deliver leading-edge technology infrastructure and digital outcomes.
There are multiple dimensions to the ATC ecosystem, but for many who have experienced it, they simply view it as “Silicon Valley in St. Louis.”