Operational excellence means optimising technology

Xavier Martin
June 12, 2023

Business leaders are prioritising operational excellence as they strive to reap digital dividends with tangible outcomes.

a man and a woman looking at a laptop

New priorities for a new day

It’s not news to anyone that our world has changed dramatically over the last few years. And while the challenges have been many, the shake-up has also created opportunities for organisations to rethink how they operate and how they can optimise technology to accelerate their shift to digitalise services, processes and workspaces. Maximising communications technology’s impact on operations while improving execution and keeping the budget status-quo is both the challenge and the opportunity. To improve capabilities and streamline operations, organisations need to:

• Simplify and automate IT

• Strengthen a cybersecurity strategy

• Optimise their budgets

• Implement new sustainable development practices

These initiatives will help organisations deliver tangible outcomes to employees, customers, as well as the business itself, while controlling costs and accelerating their digital transformation, to elevate operational excellence as the ultimate competitive weapon.

The future of IT: Simple and automated

It’s clear the advent of the cloud, over the last 10 years, has been foundational to digital transformation. And as we usher in this next phase, communications technologies that simplify and automate tasks and processes will be crucial to optimising operations. Focusing human resources on value-added tasks, where robots or automats can take over mundane or repetitive tasks, will make employees happier and increase customer satisfaction with improved responsivity.

In addition to the cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analytics and APIs to interconnect systems, will be required for organisations to benefit from digital dividends and reap tangible business benefits in the areas of the operational model, employee experience and customer experience.

As the cloud becomes the cornerstone for new automated IT services, it is creating opportunities to rethink processes such as book-to-bill, offer innovative services and enable new enterprise communications subscription-based financial models. The combination of new services and financial models also provides users and customers with the flexibility required to seamlessly adjust to their needs.

Locking down cybersecurity

As ‘work from home’ becomes the norm, organisations’ network perimeters are being stretched and tested as never before as communications can be initiated and terminated from and to anywhere. A weakened, increased attack surface creates vulnerability for organisations and opportunity for those with a nefarious bent.

Today, cybercriminals are targeting the communications equipment of companies of all sizes, across all sectors, with a complete disregard for collateral damage along the way. When they block the entire communications infrastructure of a hospital or public emergency services, educational or financial institutions, the cost can be immeasurable.

As organisations lock down their cybersecurity strategies while continuing to digitally transform their workplaces they need to consider:

• A secure by design methodology, which takes security into account during every step of product development

• Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), which trusts no user, no device and no application, no matter where it is located

• Macro- and micro-segmentation, which enables secure onboarding and access to IoT devices

• End-to-end native encryption, that allow employees and customers to securely and confidentially communicate and collaborate no matter where they are

• Security and privacy certifications and accreditations, including security standards

• Continuous, specialised security testing, to reveal security vulnerabilities so they can be addressed proactively before issues arise

Optimising today’s budget for continued growth

While IT budgets are expected to continue to rise, if they are unable to keep up with inflation, there will surely be an IT spending slowdown, and investments in enterprise communications will not be an exception. To offset any delta, organisations need to figure out how to make the most with what they’ve got. As we’ve seen over the last few years, budgets are fluid. In a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ existence, transforming fixed IT spending into flexible IT spending is crucial.

‘As a Service’ models can offer the budget flexibility to meet today’s needs. These models let organisations modernise and accelerate the digital transformation of their real-time communications while managing budget cut risks. However, to successfully make the move to the cloud organisations must first have a strategy. They should decide how much of the communications perimeter they want to migrate, which applications and services will move and how much budget can be allocated.

Cloud and pay-per-use models enable organisations to accelerate their digital transformation without having to compromise. Budget is allocated to support business priorities and provide end-users with the tools and applications that foster innovation, improve customer and employee experience and contribute to operational excellence.

Sustainability ― where progress and preservation meet

It’s time to extend the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ concept to equipment in the communications space. Sustainability is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is a necessity amid rising energy costs and eco conscientiousness which spans a variety of initiatives, including:

• Product design: Using recyclable materials, extending lifecycles, obsolescence timing and waste management

• Energy consumption: Through conscientious design and electronic components selection

• Second-hand items: Offering options between new and remanufactured or refurbished items

• Circular economy: Eco-recycling to provide a second life for equipment, or new builds from existing components

• Deployment model: A cloud model that addresses business needs and supports Service Provider eco-sustainability efforts, while reducing global carbon emissions compared to other architectures

• Education: Employees must be included in a comprehensive corporate, social and eco-responsibility education strategy

As organisations move forward and become familiar with cloud-based architectures and services, the concept of using digital technology in the enterprise communications arena to improve operational excellence is gaining traction. IT automation and simplification, cybersecurity, financial models and sustainability are at the core of this next generation of communications services, what we call Digital Age Communications.

To get more information about how ALE are helping organisations get to the next stage of operational excellence, visit our web page or contact us.

Xavier Martin

Xavier Martin

Vice President, Market Development, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Xavier Martin is Vice President, Market Development at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. In this role, he leads the Solution Marketing and Business Intelligence team for the Communications Business Division. 

Xavier has more than 25 years of management experience in the software solutions industry, including business intelligence and customer service. In 2013, he published “Make It Personal”, a book that explains how organizations can leverage technology and consumer-led transformation to enter a new era of enterprise communications, heralding what it’s nowadays known as Digital Transformation.

Xavier has a Master’s degree in Telecom and Computer Sciences from Supinfo, Paris, France.

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