The Case Of The Middleman

Day 1 of the Cloud and Security summit had several presenters dissect the world of cloud and it's inherent value. Ahmed Talaat, HCI Technical leader (Africa-*excluding S.Africa), introduces us to the benefits of cloud and transports us through IBM's latest cloud transformation projects. He hands us the key to unlocking the value of migrating to the cloud. #CSSummit #CIOSS



“Digital transformation is more about the customer experience”, says Ahmed Talaat, Technical Leader of HCI, Africa (excluding South Africa). Owing to an aspect of the inherent changes that digital transformation brings about, mainly increased customer satisfaction. All clients love to receive their services adorn in simplicity and fluidity. The faster and shorter the process to receive what they want, the more attracted to the business they become and essentially the more attractive the business becomes.

Mr. Talaat invites you to the collective experience of cloud. Cloud comes hand in hand with speed and flexibility. The shiny new digital tinge of speed and agility as an assertive quality in your business will steadily increase innovation and growth. The integration also creates linear space within the enterprise and managerial flows of the firm, instantly increasing and maintaining institutional knowledge and processes. It is cost effective due to having no need to pay for on-site staff to manage your systems and also reduced cost of ongoing maintenance and support when using local servers. It allows for remote collaboration through communication tools, software and apps that lean toward an integration of accessibility, both public and private. “Cloud sees to it that we can bring about the right experience, AKA digital transformation,” he remarked. Owing to the fact that it is flexible, mobile and automatic.

It swiftly allows you to comb through and sort out the spaghetti architecture. How and what is this? Mr.Talaat introduces, two layers… at first. The Core Systems layer, that holds ERP, CRM, Accounting, Warehouse, HR/Payroll as well as any other structural part of the organization. Then, secondly, the Omni-Channel and Ecosystems layer which houses the proliferation of productivity and the organizations external environment such as the branch/ATM, contact center, internet and mobile applications and/or any other third parties. As a firm matures, projects and ideas are formulated and materialized, this can leave a lot of room for disarray between these two layers as, the processes and communication must go through multiple teams, and even more strenuously, if a project is to go through any change, it has to go through the same long process of passing through several teams within the organization. The work experience then becomes like untangling your earphones, laden with frustration and irreparably time consuming. This is the nature of spaghetti architecture but luckily, cloud is the coiffeur to the rescue, built to comb out this predicament.

In comes, the Middleman. This proverbial aspect touches on the fact that this layer squeezes right between both the core, and omnichannel layers and effectively, creates innumerable space. Ah…now your company can take a deep breath and relax the tension in its shoulders. The Digital Middleware Layer is your middleman, on-demand. A butler with several cards up his sleeve. This layer handles quite the load. From core services such as separate accounts, payments & transactions as well as locations, to automation of operations & processes, workflow & decisions and all content as well. But not only that, it encompasses a data layer which is a sufficient database in one virtual warehouse, to which, even your physical warehouses are recorded. An AI layer that adds a predictive and intuitive spice, chatbot automation and self-loading tools as well as an API layer that exudes externalization of production such as applications and data, messaging and events and your security gateway. And as the river meets the sea, this estuary of efficiency pours into the Omnichannel and Ecosystems layer. And voila! Customer sated and delivery, done.

This is where IBM comfortably slips right in, serving as an introduction into cloud transformation. The IBM Hybrid offers a multi-cloud platform with singular capabilities that collectively run to effeciate productivity. Through and in conjunction with Red Hat Openshift; application, data, integration, management and security has all been wrapped up in an amalgam of tools and operations under the blanket of Cloud Paks, a tool to rev your engine and accelerate your journey. Cloud Paks serve to run anywhere, including on public and private clouds as well as pre-integrated systems. They are IBM certified as security and compliance are top priority and are simple and complete, in terms of application, data and AI services which make it fully modular and easy to consume.

“We create this layer with integration technologies, to abstract whatever infrastructure you have into business terms, through isolating the rest of IT from the technologies you have,” Ahmed stated. Your finance team doesn’t need to know every single component of your accounting system and how it runs down to a T, they can swiftly and safely work with the accounts and transactions with more direct focus on business, as cloud automatically takes care of all the nitty gritty aspects. Its automated qualities extend to applications, tools, robotics, processes, rules, operation intelligence and monitoring of content. They say ‘time is money’, well…cloud can help you save both.

IBM carefully wraps up the Middleware layer in four complete components within the middle arena. Sales, Payments, Procurement and finally, Marketing. These four facets move freely within the space and consequently, business flows easier. By this point, the only limitation in you migrating could be, when will your business be ready to simply join the crowd, on cloud?

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