SA firms still face innovator's dilemma

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Chris Livesey, senior VP and GM of application modernisation and connectivity solutions at Micro Focus.
Chris Livesey, senior VP and GM of application modernisation and connectivity solutions at Micro Focus.

Many organisations try to use innovation to solve problems, but innovation is not necessarily implementation of technology, and technology is not innovation, because it cannot solve problems on its own.

This is according to Chris Livesey, senior VP and GM of application modernisation and connectivity solutions at Micro Focus, speaking yesterday at the Experience Micro Focus Universe conference.

Livesey discussed the "innovator's dilemma", which is the tough choice organisations often face when forced to choose between holding onto an existing market by doing the same thing, yet slightly better (sustaining innovation), or capturing new markets by embracing new technologies and adopting new business models (disruptive innovation). He identified where organisation can realise new value from existing assets, while also integrating new approaches to surface new capabilities and returns.

"Disruptive innovation is often associated with crazy new stuff and revolutionary approaches, changing the way we behave, work and our expectation of products and services. Sustaining innovation is about optimising what the company already has and doing more with it by applying it to resolve problems.

"In order to achieve successful innovation, organisations do not need to eliminate the past to make way for the future. While the wider software industry seems obsessed with 'the new', and will often pursue attainment of the new at any cost, the fastest way for organisations to leverage new technology is to build on what they already have," he pointed out.

In this era of application modernisation, local companies are also looking to modernise their mainframes. As more cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are setting up shop in SA, there's greater opportunity for local businesses to move their mainframes to the cloud. But that comes with infinite complexities, he added.

According to Livesey, the market is hybrid IT centric, where many organisations have expanded quickly from the large local market onto the global stage, and adapted products and services along the way, resulting in a lot of technical variety, complexity and diversity.

Livesey pointed out that Micro Focus aims to assist organisations with key challenges associated with factors such as the elimination of dedicated testing time and meeting new environment requirements, which ultimately contribute to business value.

"We are engaging South African customers on how to resolve problems associated with co-enabling their products to help them move their business processes to the cloud seamlessly. There is a perception that software solves problems; however, in order for it to do so, firms need good service partners who are able to weave things properly in a robust and innovative way," he explained.

HPE merger

Last September, Micro Focus successfully completed its merger with HPE's software business. The transaction, valued at $8.8 billion, made the combined company become the world's seventh largest pure-play software firm, according to Micro Focus.

Since the merger, the company now consists of around 18 000 employees globally, and over 100 locally. It services 98 of the Fortune 100 companies, and is now offering around 450 different products and solutions, which are segmented into four portfolios: predictive analytics, DevOps, security and risk management, and hybrid IT.

"We are already part of a majority of local customer ecosystems. The business has transformed [since the acquisition of HPE's software business] and has the capability and solutions of an integrated portfolio, spanning mainframes, mobile and all elements in-between. This event is intended to launch and demonstrate the full capability of the company in South Africa," said Gary de Menezes, country GM for Micro Focus.

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