Test-driving one of the latest BMW car models can be a captivating and mind-blowing experience, jam-packed with application platforms. The luxury brand is raising the bar on every customer's driving experience—from bringing drivers closer to autonomous driving, to delivering personalized comfort and proactive roadside assistance.

BMW is one example of the thousands of businesses worldwide that are modernizing their IT organizations from maintenance-only to innovation-focused. And each company is driving new opportunities that turn petabytes of data into experiences that change how people use and interact with the products they buy.

According to Jessica Heath, SAP business lead for Red Hat's North American region, this trend indicates a transformative movement that’s sweeping across industries. "All companies are learning that they must become great software companies to remain competitive. This statement can be a bit daunting, but with the right tools and partners in place, they can acquire the capabilities to move forward," she shared during the ASUG Next-Generation SAP Enterprise Architect Summit.

Turning the Corner Past Keeping the Lights On

If you feel behind in your business’s digital transformation, you're not alone. More than 25% fewer organizations indicated they were well into their digital transformation in 2020, according to a Red Hat survey. The study also reports integration issues (27%), security and compliance (26%), talent gaps (25%), cost reduction (25%), and technical debt (23%) as their top barriers to successful digital transformation.

At a time when industries are rapidly transforming, and agility is critical to keep up and find compelling differentiation, these survey findings suggest that most businesses may soon face a crucial turning point.

Heath observed, "Businesses want to constantly develop new ways to interact with customers to make them want to come back. Whether this happens through applications, DevOps, mobile applications, or competitively agile operations, they need to build comprehensive applications to support their processes, customers, and growth."

Jumping over Innovation Hurdles with Standardization

How can companies get past their digital transformation blockers and start positively impacting their customers and their bottom line? The answer is rebalancing priorities and selecting tools that support agile delivery of new digital capabilities.

It’s important to remember that this road to modernization is an incremental path—even the smallest adjustments or additions can make a significant difference. Standardizing the enterprise architecture simplifies the ownership experience where workloads run and multiplies IT staff effectiveness by consolidating skill sets. Furthermore, this step opens the door to a wealth of valuable capabilities that replace old-school, ad-hoc, and reactive operations with application and service delivery models that are rapid, agile, and secure.

"Once businesses realize the benefits of standardizing on one platform, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, they can take their first steps toward IT modernization," advised Heath.

While every organization faces unique starting points and challenges in its transformation, Heath’s team has identified common threads across all of its customers’ modernization strategies—automation, integration, extension, and delivery. “Each of these steps, no matter the order used, provides the incremental value that businesses often find real and lasting and, quite frankly, easier and more cost-effective than a big-bang approach,” she noted. “Running SAP workloads on Red Hat solutions reduces infrastructure and operating system costs immediately with the added ability to be nimble at moving workloads in the future.”

Preparing the IT Landscape for Whatever Comes Next

We are undoubtedly living in a time of destabilization. In a matter of a year, nearly everything we do, see, and experience has changed completely. But despite all this uncertainty, I still believe that adapting to new customer behaviors and employee requirements will only help companies grow stronger.

Whether automation, integration, extension, or delivery is their radar to navigate this moment, businesses are gradually learned that a modernized IT system is the key to transforming operations, innovating new experiences, and, ultimately, surpassing the competition.

Explore more best practices and technologies that can help modernize your IT landscape. Watch the on-demand session, “Don't Just Migrate. Build on a Scalable, Flexible, and Intelligent Foundation That Sets You Up for a Future of Innovation,” featuring Jessica Heath, senior manager of SAP Business North America at Red Hat.

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