In collaboration with INSEAD, The World Economic Forum’s latest Global Information Technology Report 2014 highlighted that “industrial applications of the Internet of Everything (IoE) generate immense data flows, which are increasingly shifting over to Internet protocol (IP) networks. One reason for the shift is that IP networks have increased reliability”

Alongside this shift, integration and the move towards scalable technology across multi-channel platforms have also contributed to the complexity we see today.

Most of the time, this reconciliation of old and new technology stands in the path of change and hinders innovation, something that is costly to the firm in the long run. Some of these costs manifests in the form of unavoidable issues including migration and data security, transferrable employee knowledge, and the human capital capabilities in adapting to new IT hardware and software. This results in reduced productivity.

As with Singapore’s heavy emphasis on its citizens developing skills to harness global opportunities, creating an advanced economy and an inclusive society, it is also important for enterprises to be “future-ready”. Every dollar spent in terms of hardware and software should drive an organization’s business output significantly closer to its objectives and goals.

Steps to Building your “Future-Ready” Enterprise

To get started, here are some golden rules for organizations that intend to embark on their future-ready journey:

1. Invest in Simplicity

“Simplicity” does not mean adopting a passive stance - halting new investment and maintaining status quo. Instead, its significance lies in moving away from rigid, proprietary systems that require expensive IT specialists to manage. In order to achieve simplicity, it is paramount to pro-actively learn about the value of current systems in order to reduce complexity and maintain positive returns on all IT assets.

2. Embrace Open Standards

At its best, the IT industry is a community of innovators working together for the greater good. When we get it right, we produce powerful technologies that are based on open standards. Some may argue that standards stifle innovation among IT vendors; that proprietary technology is the only way to differentiate. We disagree. We believe that technology vendors should differentiate themselves by the innovation they build on top of standards. That way, customers are assured compatibility between the solutions they buy today and tomorrow.

3. Think Software First

Enterprises should be equipped with software and proper IT systems in order to respond to change quickly. According to IDC Manufacturing Insights on enterprise information management solutions and services, despite the increasing need for information exchange, less than half of organizations can be defined as “high adopters” of electronic information and exchange processes. Whether it is application delivered via cloud computing or data centres, only software allows for flexibility and agility in information transactions.

4. Build End-to-End Security

The IT security market is highly fragmented. There are dozens of “best-of-breed” solutions addressing narrow aspects of security — from intrusion detection to application security to identity and access management. And knitting together these point solutions leaves seams of vulnerability. Future-ready enterprises need end-to-end security that is simple, efficient and connected. By tying together the splintered aspects of IT security, organizations can share, combine and analyse security insight from every system across the organization. And IT security can become an enabler of innovation, rather than an obstacle to it.

5. Modernize and Automate

Old programming languages and obsolete IT platforms are inherently restrictive. They limit an organizations’ ability to add new capabilities to the enterprise and they require a disproportionate amount of resources to maintain. Migrating onto more modern systems reduces cost, improves agility and lays the foundation for the future. It also allows for labour-intensive processes to be automated, which saves money and reduces the potential for human error.

As we head towards an age where speed-to-market and the relevance of technology is always in question, it is imperative that we find sustainable approaches to enterprise IT. In capitalizing on every opportunity, including those that do not even exist yet, “future-ready” firms are able to provide enough support for their highly mobile workforce. Organizations can too, hedge their risks of the unpredictable future via the aforementioned simple best practices.

Mak Chin Wah is the general manager for Enterprise Solutions at Dell South Asia.