GreenPages CEO Ron Dupler's 5 Digital Era Mandates

Embracing The Digital Revolution

GreenPages Technology Solutions CEO Ron Dupler says the pace of change in the digital era is accelerating.

"The big challenge today is the pace of change is ramping up dramatically," said Dupler in his keynote address at the GreenPages 2018 Cloudscape Summit: Embracing The Digital Revolution. "This change can be exhilarating and invigorating. It can also be really threatening and demanding."

Dupler pointed to a quote from a VMware presentation as evidence of the realities facing IT leaders: "Change is happening faster today than it ever has before and slower than it ever will again."

The dramatic technology changes facing businesses include the accelerating use of artificial intelligence to replace traditional jobs, autonomous vehicles, robotics and social media in both national and global politics. "These are really amazing times," said Dupler.

GreenPages, No. 203 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500, is helping customers adapt to the fast-moving technology changes with a wide range of digital transformation consulting and services including infrastructure modernization and cloud transformation and operations services. "The essence of business leadership is helping organizations cope with, adapt to change and seize the opportunities inherent in change," said Dupler. Here are Dupler's five digital era mandates.

Innovation Is The Fuel

"Innovation is the foundation of the digital era," said Dupler. "It is being driven by the speed and pace of change we are responding to as businesses and humans."

Throughout history, innovation primarily has been about innovating in the physical world, said Dupler. In the digital transformation era, it is about innovating with software in the cyberworld, he said.

"Innovation is the fuel of the digital era," said Dupler. "What is not possible today? Not a lot. As you innovate with your teams, think about what is possible. It astounds me. It boggles my mind day today when I look at what people are working on. There is not a lot that is not possible."

When companies are equally adept at innovation, the winners will be those that "can execute on the ideas," said Dupler. "The questions for companies are: Do you have a culture of innovation? Are you hiring innovative people? Do you have a process from which innovative ideas can emerge, and then can you get it done?"

Business Outcome Focus

"You must have a business outcome focus," said Dupler. "You have heard the term for the last several years that today IT is the business, but ultimately it is about business outcomes that you drive around innovative ideas with technology and cloud as the sub themes with how we do this."

The predominant discussions GreenPages is having around digital transformation with its customers are "business discussions first and technology discussions second," said Dupler. "The digital era mind-set is a challenge mind-set. The status quo is no longer acceptable in a world of rapid change. You need to be fostering a culture where people feel free to challenge the status quo as you drive into the future."

Agility: Being Built For Speed

"Agility is an ability to be nimble and change velocity and speed in a given direction," said Dupler. "The impediment to agility today is legacy IT systems that weren't built for speed."

That legacy IT impediment crosses "people, processes and technology," said Dupler. "The IT we built over the last several decades wasn’t built for a world that moves as quickly as the world moves today."

With the blinding pace of technology change, companies are being forced to continually re-evaluate their quarterly business planning cycles, said Dupler.

"Things change, you get surprises, and those surprises take many forms," said Dupler. "You are going to get surprised so you have got to build an organization that can change and adapt."

Velocity Starts At The Software Layer

"Velocity is most important at the software layer," said Dupler. "Most of the tremendous innovation we see with disruptive business models is taking place at the software layer. That is where velocity becomes imperative."

Dupler said the key to the success in moving from traditional models to hybrid IT and finally to digital era IT is about increasing velocity at the software layer.

"The impediments here are similar to agility," said Dupler. "Old architectural development process paradigms are holding companies back. The issue is the underlying infrastructure, processes and people were built for a completely different era."

That said, digital era velocity is not about "anarchy," said Dupler. "You have got to provide velocity for your organization, but you cannot let go of security and compliance mandates, which are more important than they have ever been. Therein lies the hard part of this."

Customer Experience Is King

"Customer experience is king in the digital era," said Dupler, pointing to GreenPages' software partner Microsoft, which defines customer experience as engaging customers, empowering employees and optimizing operations.

"At the end of the day, customer experience wins," said Dupler. "If we look at the amazing things going on with the companies that are transforming the world today, they are transforming either the way we interact and do things in our private lives or in our business lives."

Dupler pointed to Amazon as the best example of a company that delivered "profound change" in the way consumers buy things, starting with books.

That Amazon customer experience leadership has also reshaped the technology landscape with Amazon Web Services, which has transformed the speed at which developers can write game-changing applications, said Dupler.

"The companies that we think of as disrupters and winners in the digital economy are the companies that are transforming customer experience," he said.