It is through software that today’s winning business models are emerging, according to AJ Hartenberg, portfolio manager at T-Systems, South Africa.

Over the past couple of years, think of all the intuitive, convenient mobile apps and web-based services that have enchanted consumers and turned start-ups into overnight sensations. Whatever examples come to your mind, you can be sure that it’s a software-driven business model that’s behind the success.

Organisations have realised that the best way to integrate new software into their operations – and into their customer value propositions – is through cloud-based platforms and infrastructure services.

But, many firms remain reticent about migrating their IT estate to the cloud – believing that the costs and complexity of migration still outweigh the benefits that the cloud will bring.

Fortunately, latest versions of platforms-as-a-service (PAAS) such as OpenShift Enterprise and Docker Containers will put an end to this debate once and for all. With these recent PAAS enhancements, migrating away from legacy, mainframe, and on-premise infrastructure is now dramatically simplified.

OpenShift – Created by open-source software firm Red Hat, OpenShift is a platform allowing developers to deploy web applications in various languages. From a management perspective, OpenShift ensures the maintenance of services underlying any particular application, and scales the application as needed.

Docker – An open-source developer project, Docker automates application deployment within software containers. It is a tool for developers to package an application (and its dependencies) in a virtual container that can run on any Linux server – irrespective of where the server is hosted.

In simpler terms, OpenShift and Dockers are a scalable, secure, containerised platform for developers to create applications that transform their organisations systems, services, and products.

CIOs worried about the pain of migrating applications will be able to determine which applications need to be redesigned, and which can be simply redeployed. Concerns around technical glitches or other migration issues are alleviated by the sophistication of the new OpenShift platform.

Once migrated, enterprises gain access to the benefits of DevOps: one of the hottest topics in IT. DevOps is the automation of software delivery and infrastructure changes – where building, testing, releasing, iterating, and re-releasing happens in a continuous cycle – and at rapid pace.

This means organisations can now truly embed the principles of behaviour-driven design into their development approach – another hallmark of today’s successful digital companies.

Real-time feedback from users’ experiences informs continuous tweaks to an application’s design or functioning – resulting in user-friendly interfaces that keep up with changing user preferences.

This ability to immediately react to customer needs is something that we at T-Systems refer to as a state of “zero distance” – the pinnacle of customer experience excellence, where organisations are able to address customer needs with utmost agility.

In other words, for the best customer experience, organisations need to closely connect the three areas of Cloud, application migration, and behaviour driven design – all underpinned by the principle of automation.

A recent report from Oracle shows the startling impact of a poor mobile user experience. Among millennials, 55% of respondents said a poor app experience would put them off using a company in question.

“An engaging and personalised user experience has become the new weapon in the battle to attract and retain millennial customers,” says Suhas Uliyar, vice-president: mobile strategy and product management at Oracle.

Clearly, the quality of a company’s digital interfaces are determining whether customers will engage with your company. And it is only through the adoption of cloud, DevOps and behaviour driven design, that organisations can achieve the digital solutions that will wow their users.

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