Why Digital Transformation?
Organizations around the globe have started to realize the importance of Digital Technologies and most of them are running Digital Transformation Programmes in one form or another. There is a lot of curiosity around the new Digital technologies and new ways of implementing them. While transforming the way businesses operate and implement their IT systems is essential, it can be easier for the organizations and business leaders to fall prey to the trap of starting the process without knowing what they want to achieve out of it.
To ensure businesses get maximum benefit from the transformation process and remain relevant in ever-growing competitive markets, it is important that business leaders and transformation teams undertake a thorough evaluation of the challenges facing them and the best ways to address them. This can include anything from Business Process transformation, implementing Digital technologies, opting new IT delivery models, Mobile Apps, Data Analytics, AI based ChatBots etc.
Another major reason to consider bringing in Digital Transformation is the disruption from incumbents and start-ups. The start-ups are bringing innovations into the market at record speed and this is posing serious challenges for the organization traditionally leading the market space. Digital transformation thus is more than necessity, it is in most cases the only way to survive and grow.
What is Digital Transformation?
Though there have been many articles written around Digital Transformation, the process and approach can be different for each organization. It can generally be defined as adoption / integration of Digital Technologies into how businesses operate on different fronts and how the value is passed on to end customers.
The definition extends beyond just adoption of digital technologies. Digital Transformation encompasses a fundamental change in the working culture challenging the current ways of working and bringing innovation in day to day operations. The change is required from the highest levels to the lowest levels of the organization who contribute to every aspect of running of the business. This process can be challenging and can present most difficult problems. At the same time, if done correctly, transformation can yield rewards allowing the businesses to be more efficient, reach out to more customers and add real value creating more business opportunities.
From technology standpoint, most common and most vital elements are how the organizations can benefit from vast amount of data that gets processed on daily basis and how patterns in data can be used for predicting future business decisions that will generate best results. Use of Big Data technologies and data analytics tools allows businesses to get this benefit. Cloud technologies provide ability to store and process the huge amount of data and scalable infrastructure on-demand.
Use of Agile methodologies for change management can add significant value as well. Adoption of Agile methodology allows the teams to deliver changes in smaller but regular chunks without having to spend months studying and designing complex solutions. This also allows businesses flexibility to change their priorities and expectations from the IT systems depending on changes in market conditions or end customer requirements. This is a huge improvement over traditional ways of rigid change management processes where making slightest of changes to the requirements or scope would keep moving goal post in future and incur additional cost.
Use of Automation in application development and testing process, Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) help further to reduce shipping time for changes without compromising on quality. The Dev-Ops model is being widely used to bridge gap between application development and operations to make whole change management process efficient.
An important aspect that can easily be overlooked but can make significant difference is use of collaboration tools and technologies. Tools like Jira and Confluence are replacing the traditional business requirement documents which needed heavy version control and had limited visibility across the delivery teams. The tools provide teams ability to manage their work as per the model that suits them best and give ability to have recorded communications around the work item replacing long isolated email chains. Use of communications tools allows the teams based in different geographical locations to collaborate more efficiently.
Digital Transformation Strategy: Is there a standard that fits everyone?
Every organization is different and has different needs from Digital Transformation. Therefore, there cannot be a single strategy that can fit everyone. Every organization must look at the challenges they are facing, and the results expected from the transformation before deciding on the approach. Digital transformation can be a complex process and finding the right approach that suits your needs is the most important step towards achieving the goals.
Deloitte’s report, ‘Strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation’, discusses the benefits of crafting a strategy for rolling out a path to digital maturation instead of just the technology. Technology will keep evolving over time and it’s likely that in a few years, the technology your business needs will change as well. However, a well thought of strategy ensures that opportunities presented by technological advances are grabbed at right time. The strategy, like the technology must be reviewed periodically for relevance and aligned to changing needs. No matter how well planned the strategy is, there can always be new learnings along the way and the approach should involve a feedback loop to allow continuous improvement.
The most important aspects that the strategy should address include increasing awareness across the organization and a top-down cascade of adoption of transformation goals. Reskilling existing workforce in the new technologies and ways of working is as important as hiring people with right skills and industry experience. Adoption of collaborative culture open to ideas and experiments allows everyone involved to participate and bring innovation to the table.
Clearly defining the goals of the Transformation Programmes and aligning the business initiatives against each goal should help the organizations ensure that all aspects of transformation are covered. Regular reviews of initiatives against the goals help in identifying inefficiencies and gaps that need to be closed on priority.
Finally, Digital Transformation is an ongoing exercise. Businesses will need to keep transforming themselves and achieving higher levels of Digital maturity. The organizations that embrace Digital Transformation as a way of working will ultimately be the ones leading the way in future and will create maximum business opportunities for themselves and their customers.
Synetec is an Agile solutions provider with expertise in diverse development technologies, such as Angular, the .Net Framework, SQL Server and other cloud friendly data stores. We are certified and have successfully delivered projects across different cloud technology stacks such as Microsoft Azure and AWS, delivering integration and development solutions since 2000.
We work with a number of the UK’s most respected financial institutions to deliver a range of innovative solutions. We have expertise in working with both established businesses as well as start-ups and extreme growth businesses.