The term ‘Digital Transformation’ has been thrown around time and time again by businesses across the globe, yet, more often than not, it’s misused. Many assume that the phrase is used to label the transition of manual, physical tasks to efficient, digital practices – and whilst this may well make up a minor part of the term, it certainly isn’t a holistic understanding of the philosophy of Digital Transformation.
Digital Transformation describes the way in which businesses, or entire industries, change the way they operate, manage and engage with their markets. This transition encourages organizations to recognize the importance of analytics, insight, constant cycles of improvement and to do so, leaning on modern technology to streamline everyday processes. With key pillars being the identification of opportunities for automation, procuring data and insight to better inform decision-making and increasing efficiency and growth across the business. So, a lot more than simply switching from filing cabinets to a basic excel spreadsheet… that’s already happened. But being able to make sense of business information, derive meaning from data and to be mindful of what the future will hold for your business as we head into the 4th industrial revolution, Digital Transformation is central to business strategy in the modern age.
Of course, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, professional priorities have been shifted to no end – and the need for Digital Transformation has come into sharp focus. And this isn’t difficult to understand. Remote workforces have quickly become the norm as has the need for all business to conduct trading with their customers at a distance, however that may be achieved. Change has become essential and internally, IT is again growing in scope rapidly – providing many of the resources needed for businesses to survive and thrive.
In fact, in a recent report, TEKsystems spoke to C-suite respondents and found that 90% claim their company is now ‘fully embracing digital transformation’. So it’s safe to say that all businesses, even those who may not have considered transformation previously, are scrambling to modernize their environments now. The question that remains is…
Does Digital Transformation have an Endpoint?
A key understanding to grasp is that Digital Transformation leads to enhanced Business Intelligence – with improved insights, accurate data and meaningful measurements into how the organization functions in its entirety. Now, like everything within your business, none of these benefits will be stationary; instead, the modernization of your working practices will lead to an ongoing, informed cycle of conscious, measured improvement. In turn, this will prompt further identification of opportunities, greater informed strategy and prioritization, and sustained insights leading to yet further transformation. So, in short, no. There is no defined end of Digital Transformation – it is a philosophy, and one with critical Business Intelligence at its heart.
It’s therefore important that business leaders take the time to understand this rationale. You won’t be able to pinpoint the moment that Digital Transformation is complete because it will continue to function and thrive alongside your business and the changing environment. And, it’s with this understanding that organizations, and their leaders, will master the art of innovation – finetuning agility and prompting a swift response.
The greatest challenge for many right now, is knowing where to start…
How can IT begin to Digitally Transform?
The simple acknowledgement of the need for progression within a business, as well as the implementation of new technologies, is an excellent step in the right direction. However, that’s only half the battle.
To ensure that Digital Transformation is successful, and will continue to be successful for years to come, will rest on the cultural mindset within your organization. It is not enough to make a singular change and expect immediate results. Instead, transformation revolves around an understanding that your business’ growth will require ever-evolving solutions – and investments – to remain efficient and ahead of the curve.
It’s likely that solutions that were perfectly suitable just a number of years ago, could now be part of the problem – part of the technological inertia preventing IT and the business from progressing in the right direction. But it’s true that radical change requires radical actions and it’s up to your business, specifically those in leadership roles, to embrace these changes and search for the solutions that will increase momentum.
Within the growing scope of IT specifically, it’s important to assess your estate and capability and to identify areas where Digital Transformation is possible. The foundation of understanding IT is the availability of good data on all aspects of IT assets and how they are or can be used. ‘Good data’ meaning that you have a full and detailed ‘view’ on all aspects of your IT hardware, software, SaaS & Cloud and that this information is consolidated ideally within a single IT asset management solution – a ‘Single Source of the Truth’ that provides the full picture and has readily available, accessible, meaningful intelligence. Having these measurements will remain vital for everything else that’s to come; identifying outdated manual processes, eliminating bottlenecks in operations, recognizing where intelligence can be applied to better inform decision making. The easier it becomes to attain the intelligence from good business information in IT, the easier it will be to make changes, measure results and progress through a strategy of continuous improvement, agility and resilience.
What will happen to businesses who do not invest in Digital Transformation?
Whilst the pandemic has propelled the theme of modernization to no end, it didn’t create it. The importance of Digital Transformation has been growing for years with every aspect of our lives turning towards technological solutions and cloud architecture – from our shopping preferences to how we communicate with one another. Frequently, businesses that denied or ignored this change and continued with their traditional methods failed to keep up with society. Seemingly fading into obscurity.
No one wants to be another Blockbuster Video – once a leading provider of film and video game rental services. In the early 2000s, the brand encapsulated the world of video rentals, yet, when unable to transform to a digital, cloud-based model, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010. In the wake of its demise, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu have taken to center stage.
So, whilst it is not a definite fate, past realities would have us assume that any business which ignores the necessity of Digital Transformation could find themselves in a tricky situation within a short time frame – and as world economies seek to ‘Build Back Better’ and embrace the new super-accelerators of AI and Machine Learning, it’s become clear that the rate of change will only accelerate.
At Certero, we understand that Digital Transformation within IT might seem a daunting task to come to terms with but it really needn’t be – after all it starts with being informed.
If your business requires support with gaining clarity and insight into IT assets and capabilities, check out our Digital Transformation solutions to learn more!