According to a recent McKinsey Digital article, “there’s no worse time than now to be an average CIO.” Here at Bi4, we have to agree: It goes without saying that maintaining watertight data insights, software quality and systems security are indispensable tools for a CIO. However, those fundamentals are now no longer enough to keep your firm at the top of its game.

As the business technology landscape continues to change phenomenally rapidly, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to keep pace. To succeed, firms need to move away from the busywork of never-ending front- and back-end system updates to focus on innovation, transformation and better serving their clients and industries. Faced with this reality, crafting a flexible collaboration with a trusted technology partner is an obvious key to future success.

From do or die to deliver or die

For any business, no matter its scale, keeping its data systems optimised across the board is a Herculean task. At first glance, large-scale infrastructure providers may seem like the ideal solution. Established names such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google do draw in the crowds – in fact, you may already be a customer.

Yet these providers’ enormous reach – AWS, for example, currently has over 1 million active users – means their vested interest inevitably lies in their own continual optimisation, rather than in safeguarding the services they provide to each of their individual clients.

Plus, once you’re in, you’re in. You’ll have given up the right to keep your provider options open and the costs could mount up quickly. Fortunately, there is another way: collaborating with a smaller-scale, independent technology partner that will help you make optimal use of the Cloud, while reducing dependency as much as possible.

And then there’s what we call technological debt…

In just four years, Google’s famous Angular framework changed version from AngularJS to Angular 10, forcing clients into a consistent cycle of maintenance and updates. Now, your business may have been able to keep up with the shift from Angular 9 to Angular 10, but what happens when Angular 11, 12 and 13 emerge, rendering your software technology suddenly obsolete and unsupported?

Then what happens to that data-crunching dashboard your team carefully crafted with Angular 9? You’ll be left with no choice: update or watch performance, security levels and the code to functionality ratio suffer. This might not be instant, but it is inevitable over time.

Let’s suppose your company has assumed the risk and workload of incrementally updating your applications, quarter in, quarter out. You’re barely maintaining stability and security, let alone orchestrating new functionality. Even following an incisive roadmap, your in-house team is mired in day to day maintenance, with no time or headspace for innovation. Starting to resonate?

Future-proofing with modular architecture

At Bi4, we’ve got a unique handle on resolving technological debt. Our modular architecture allows us to periodically optimise all our clients’ applications, eliminating that potentially deadly technical lag. With a synchronised, efficient and secure process, we can update 15 applications in the time it usually takes to update just 1, with the consequent cost benefit to boot.

So, that’s software updates taken care of. On to servers: Bi4’s goal is to optimise our clients’ Cloud costs and ensure their applications are reliably scalable, all while keeping their Cloud server options open. Our team offers expert insight to ensure you’re with the right provider for your business requirements.

Software developments wait for no business. Cloud services improve literally by the day. The good news is you don’t need to stay on top of all that – not with the right technology partner. An expert partner won’t merely optimise your company’s software and Cloud usage at minimal stress, time and price; it’ll also improve performance by taking the busy-work off your hands.

That way, you’re freed up to focus on that well-known prerequisite for business survival: delivering on innovation.

Play to your strengths

In business, dominating your sector means knowing where your key value lies. Expecting your employees to become Jacks of All Trade will at best divert their focus, scuppering focused innovation, and will at worst lead to rapid burnout.

As former CEO of Intel Andy Grove put it: “Just as you would not permit a fellow employee to steal a piece of office equipment, you shouldn’t let anyone walk away with the time of his fellow managers.” Time, as we know, is money – so why would you allow the time-waster of persistent technology headaches that a trusted partner could solve much more efficiently?

The key is to channel your company’s time, resources and energies into your core product. With a technology partner taking care of the underlying infrastructure, your firm will be free to prioritise development, innovation, sales and responsiveness to client needs.

No matter your product, the premise is the same: focus on your business forte and let a partner ensure you’re staying on top of the latest technological developments.

Optimised data architecture is your greatest defence

If your software becomes outdated, you can’t provide the services you’ve promised your clients. Perhaps more concerningly, failing to keep pace with your large-scale provider’s onslaught of updates exposes your business to significant cyber security risk: if your systems are hacked while operating on outdated software, you’re unlikely to be able to claim on insurance.

All firms are exposed to this risk, but recent trends show small and medium businesses are most vulnerable. Verizon’s latest Data Breach Investigations Report showed that 43% of all data breaches target SMBs, while 4iQ’s 2019 Identity Breach Report revealed a 424% increase in cyber crime targeting small businesses between 2017 and 2018.

Communication is key

It goes without saying that your business’ technology partner should offer you specialised expertise, fine-tuned Cloud knowledge and a clear pathway to innovative optimisation. Clear communication, though, is also vital.

Forbes’ Adrian Bridgewater identified “an overriding sense of openness, shared culture, goals and objectives plus a need to develop mutual respect” as fundamental elements of any successful technology partnership. At Bi4, we’d have to agree. Working from a baseline of honest, effective communication and mutual respect, your business can relax in the knowledge that outsourcing core components of its data architecture won’t represent any loss of ownership, identity or security.

Protect, pivot and perform with a trusted technology partner

By bringing in a trusted technology partner, firms can outsource the draining daily legwork to experts who know the Cloud better than the back of their own hands. Choose a partner providing an elegantly flexible modular solution – such as Nucleoo from Bi4 – to simultaneously reduce business risk, increase focus and optimise performance over the long term.

Written by
Sander Wolfensberger
Managing Partner Bi4 Group