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Our Digital Transformation Director Chris Porter, was featured in TechNative discussing the topic of digital transformation and taking the IT out of DigITal .

6point6 Chris Porter is software eating the world

So you think you’re not a software company?

In 2011 a poster-boy Silicon Valley entrepreneur quixotically declared that: “software is eating the world”.

As an original member of Jim Clarke’s team at Netscape, co-founder and Chairman of Opsware when it was sold to HP for $1.6bn and an angel investor in Facebook, Twitter, GitHub and Skype – when someone of Mark Andreessen’s track record speaks out, people tend to listen.

But there was a flaw with this particular statement: it felt drastically exaggerated. The average banker, retailer or industry titan would have almost certainly grunted and gone back to their copy of the daily paper and business carried on as usual.

Or was it?

The problem (with Information Technology)

For most large organisations, IT has always been about decreasing cost. It is common to invest in large enterprise systems in order to make core business processes more efficient, as well as less prone to human error and more secure. Likewise, most organisations now interact with their customers or users across the internet using one or more digital channels, such as a website or a mobile app.

But these things are seen as complementary rather than core business. Symptomatic of this stance is the undisputable fact that IT is seen simply as a cost to be contained, reduced and outsourced where possible. “Do more for less” is the CIO motto, the role is to manage a cost centre.

Taking the IT out of DigITal

But this is not what Mr Andreesen was talking about. Instead, he was referring to an impending socio-economic step-change in human behaviour and how this revolution would fundamentally impact business, whether its leaders were prepared or not.

He was talking about the birth of what we now know of as the digital era, a time when technology is business, there is nothing else. Technology, software and data is a means to actually create value: to make money, rather than merely to save it.

Of course, there are forerunners like Google, Amazon and Facebook who have continued to show the world what good digital looks like; mercilessly colonising existing markets, and frequently conceiving entirely new ones. And there are the born-digital start-ups who seem able to reach new heights of innovation with little or no resources.

But in truth, digitally speaking, most businesses today are aspirational stragglers desperately peddling to keep up, for fear of impending obsolescence. No one wants to become their industry’s version of HMV. Digital transformation has become an industry in its own right, a rescue mission to modernise and digitise yesterday’s economy.

And it’s not going well…


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