For large enterprises, digital transformation can be a massive challenge and can seem unattainable. They have complex technology stacks and sprawling portfolios of legacy applications. Each generation of technology adds another layer of complexity and operational overhead — known in the industry as “technical debt” — that can’t simply be swept under the rug.
A recent Gartner study indicated that 87% of CIOs consider creating a digital strategy a priority but only 40% can bring it to life. They don’t have the time or the resources. Enterprises spend 80% of their IT resources just keeping the lights on, leaving only 20% to move the business forward.
SHI created Stratascale around the vision that CIOs could go to one service provider and get everything they need for devising, building, and executing their technology roadmap. Stratascale’s Innovation Advisory, is the company’s analyst and consulting group that enables true end-to-end transformation — everything necessary for clients to realize business value. We provide technology market research and high-level strategy, and we develop a transformation roadmap that outlines the procurement, deployment, integration, adoption, optimization, and maintenance of technology solutions.
Prior to Stratascale and Innovation Advisory, there has been no true one-stop shop for the enterprise’s technology needs. Analyst firms conduct research but do not consult, integrate, or resell technology. Consulting firms may provide advisory services but do not integrate or resell technology. Most integrators and resellers lack the research and consulting capability to help a client determine if and why they should consider a technology in the first place.
This diffusion of the capabilities necessary for full solutioning has compounded the capital and time investments necessary for transformation. CIOs and enterprise architects have been left on their own to manage an assortment of supplier relationships to get things done. Every additional supplier introduces more complexity to the system and more administrative overhead. No wonder digital transformation has been taking enterprises twice as long and costing twice as much!
As the tip of the spear in the Stratascale ecosystem, Innovation Advisory is the trifecta that CIOs need for digital transformation: research and advisory (the why/the vision), consulting and professional services (the how/the design), deployment and integration (the what/the execution).
Innovation Advisory consists of three tightly integrated teams -- Research, Technical Advisory, and the Customer Innovation Center – that are aligned across Stratascale’s centers of excellence and are critical to actualizing a digital strategy: Cybersecurity, Cloud, Data Intelligence and Digital Experience. Together, these teams enable business leaders to develop a high-level, future state vision, connecting the dots between technology and business value.
Let’s explore further.
1) Research. The Research team is our industry insights intake mechanism, examining trends and technologies based on their business value and relevant developments in the marketplace. Innovation Advisory develops and publishes its own research findings while also drawing on the expertise of industry-leading research firms and tapping into our venture capital ecosystem and an extensive set of long-standing clients across the private and public sectors. Sifting through the noise, research analysts provide actionable insights and engage with clients to help answer the question, “What technologies should I be looking at to support my business goals?”
2) Technical Advisory. The Technical Advisory team works side by side with the Research team to ensure we are looking at technology solutions through the lens of practicality. It investigates whether the solutions identified in our research can deliver on the capabilities required by an enterprise client. If a solution is found unsuitable at that time, the Stratascale team can put it on the radar and track the maturity with the client to determine its future feasibility. Technical advisors combine business acumen with technical expertise, serving as subject matter experts (SMEs) for the Research team and trusted advisors for Stratascale’s clients.
Together, the Research and Technical Advisory teams work with clients to develop high-level future state visions for how to best use technology to support their business goals. They do this through a combination of what we call Horizon Briefings and Innovation Advisory Workshops. Horizon Briefings provide clients practical recommendations for how to realize business value based on developments in the industry. Innovation Advisory Workshops are a collaborative, hands-on approach to build out a long-term vision and initial action plan.
3) Customer Innovation Center. The Customer Innovation Center (CIC) is an 8,000 sq. ft. production-grade data center -- an extension of SHI’s world-class Executive Briefing Center -- located at our New Jersey headquarters. The CIC was designed as a safe environment for clients to explore technologies and see them come to life as opposed to just talking about them. The CIC is run by a team of principal architects and engineers who collaborate with our clients and partners on demos, Proof of Concept (PoCs)/Proof of Value (PoVs), product comparisons, training, and enablement. All designed to enable clients to experience integrated and fully functioning reference architectures that address their business needs and maximize the value of their technology investments.
Collaborating closely with Innovation Advisory, Stratascale’s field CTOs, CISOs, and architecture teams work with clients to bring their digital strategy and desired future state to life through Stratascale’s and SHI’s solutions and service offerings.
As the consulting and professional services branch of SHI, Stratascale combines innovative insights with 30 years’ experience in the market serving and partnering with thousands of clients and technology innovators. SHI boasts the highest client retention rate in the industry, with its focus on IT cost optimization, IT supply chain, international presence, and scale combined with a client-first culture and world class support.
The pace of change with technology isn’t slowing down, and enterprises are becoming more complex. Organizations need digital agility capabilities to transform their businesses.
Innovation Advisory leads the way in helping clients identify and select the best solutions. As an organization seamlessly fusing together research, advisory, and technology integration with its hands in venture capital and cutting-edge innovation, Stratascale will help enterprises bring digital agility to life.
Jim Middleton is an innovative, results-oriented leader with a wealth of IT experience. He leads Stratascale’s Innovation Advisory, which includes a team of researchers and forward-looking technologists that guide clients on their journey to digital agility through identification of emerging trends, new markets, competitive insights, disruptors, and investments.