By Christopher O’Connor, Executive Director & CEO, Persistent Systems; Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov
The current situation has created a renaissance moment for digital. While digital was on the radar for companies, the speed and magnitude in which it is being deployed today are unprecedented. Leaders across industries are relying on digital as the foundation to increase their enterprises’ agility and composability.
Here, Pari Natarajan, CEO & Co-founder, Zinnov, is in conversation with Christopher O’Connor, Executive Director and CEO, Persistent Systems to discuss Persistent’s proprietary digital mosaic framework, and how this framework is being used by Enterprises and ISVs to unlock competitive advantage and create business elasticity. Here are some of the excerpts from the conversation.
What is a digital mosaic? And why is it more relevant in today’s business context than ever before?
Digital mosaic framework gives organizations the opportunity to transform their business and technology landscape based on new products, services, and solutions built on flexible cloud-based services. In today’s world, IT is delivering new cloud-based capabilities that enable increased enterprise composability and agility, allowing the business to flex and adapt to changing market dynamics and demand. Combined with the capabilities of automation, advanced analytics, IOT, AI/ML, and reimagined customer interactions, the options are endless. The current global pandemic has accelerated the need to shift towards digital channels, increase automation, and secure IT assets for a remote global workforce which is what makes this digital mosaic more pertinent than ever before.
Legacy complexity cannot be under-estimated. How do digital mosaic solutions co-exist with legacy applications?
This intersection is precisely where the digital mosaic shines. The core principle behind the mosaic is to create a composable architecture where legacy systems co-exist with new cloud-based platforms and solutions to ensure that end-users (internal and external) get the best unified digital experience possible without the business worrying about the complexity of the legacy systems.
This is achieved by building the right connectors and interfaces to enable the new systems to leverage the data seamlessly from the legacy systems. For example, for certain components like a core banking platform, we have a dual strategy to keep the legacy System of Records (SOR) in synch, which would eventually lead to a future plan of migrating from the legacy SOR to the new cloud-based system as part of a digital mosaic.
While the mosaic of business services is a reality and can accelerate the realization of new solutions, what about maintainability and support? Is the complexity reduced for development and shifted to other parts of the business? What has been your experience for solutions that have reached maturation?
The question of maintainability and support is tackled by the engagement model. Whether co-engineered or a managed service, in most cases there should be a single “hand to shake” with well-defined and signed off RACI (responsibility assignment matrix). Regarding complexity, it is not reduced but abstracted from the customer by the underlying solution that the provider and partner ecosystem offer. For example, solutions around an Azure stack abstracts the customer from the complexity and integrates the Azure stack into their existing environments to provide a seamless, consistent hybrid cloud experience and the associated benefits.
As partner products and solutions enable the acceleration of solutions, we find operations within organizations challenged with managing a plethora of internal and external partner-provided solutions. Any experiences to share on how Ops teams are changing in this era of digital transformation?
Though it might at first look complex from an operations perspective, IT organizations are discovering that it is not as complex as it seems, once deployed. The key reason for this is that the new cloud-based platforms and solutions are managed by the provider, plus these platforms leverage low code/no code, making them much easier to maintain and upgrade compared to legacy systems. With a far more mature DevOps pipeline than most legacy systems, many tasks are also automated. This leaves little for the operations teams to be concerned with – be it scaling up/scaling down based on user loads or deploying fixes and new feature upgrades without downtime.
In the case of Gojoko, for example, we managed the entire stack for them, which includes cloud hosting, app development, app support, and managed services. In the case of complex situations, we work on providing customer support for the component we are responsible for or the component that has been developed by us. In other cases, we have taken on the role of being a broader managed service partner.
That said, operations teams must be agile and upskilled on some of the newer platforms and technologies. With the dramatic shift to remote work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are ensuring that we work closely with our customers to address the new challenges and provide the optimal solution, quickly.
How does data interoperability work as you stitch together software platforms across various Digital Mosaic tiles?
Integration is, without a doubt, the most critical element of the digital mosaic framework and Persistent has a formidable track record of building connectors for our ISV partners. Building on this track record, we continue to leverage pre-built connectors or build custom ones as needed for data interoperability and integrating legacy systems. We offer data integration services and a proprietary Persistent data integration layer for these situations.
Also, most of the new platforms and solutions expose REST (representational state transfer) APIs. Integration platforms like Mulesoft, Workato, and other similar partner platforms play a key role in integrating these various digital tiles while ensuring a seamless experience for the end-user. Security and data access are also a key issue along with data interoperability, further exacerbated by the rapid enablement of an entirely remote workforce, which can and are being overcome through the integration platforms and a strong identity and access management solution.
What are some customer examples where you have used the digital mosaic approach?
We do have a few initiatives where the Digital Mosaic approach has been successful. Gojoko, UK is an aggregator credit union platform provider, which has been live since 2019. Monument is another UK-based customer, building a lending platform where they are using few building blocks from our BFSI Digital Mosaic. In the Healthcare space, we have a few customers such as Rush, Duke healthcare, who are leveraging our offerings around Patient care, Patient onboarding, and Patient engagement from our Health Care & Life Sciences (HCLS) Digital mosaic.
The post-COVID era will be defined by greater adoption of digital transformation strategies that will enable business continuity and engender business stability. A ‘Digital Mosaic’ framework is an effective lever that can be utilized by Enterprises and ISVs alike to create significant business value, that will come from greater composability of business operations, increased flexibility, and operational speed.
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