How can leaders ensure their organisation is following clear digital transformation strategy and remain responsive to both customers and their workers’ needs? Agility is a fundamental practice needed for success in today’s more competitive and demanding economies, but all too often senior decision-makers remain entrenched in their outmoded technical systems.
Harnessing digital transformation strategy– the use of technology in building and nurturing new business models, software and processes – is the key to not just surviving in these markets, but thriving. Digital transformation strategy entails the integration of digital technology into all areas of an enterprise to create new or higher revenue streams, increased efﬁciency, and greater competitive advantage. By challenging the cultural status quo, digital transformation creates fundamental changes in how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers.
Many organisations are already adapting to the shifting digital landscape. By fundamentally changing their framework these enterprises are the best-prepared to face the increased challenges of 21st-century markets.
Today, customers expect a fast and responsive product or service experience similar to what they usually have with technology in their personal lives. Businesses need therefore to ensure that their interactions are exceptional and seamless in the delivery of services. With agile hybrid IT services and networking capability, businesses can now increase the usability of applications for customers.
Organisations, naturally, are looking for new ways to improve operational efficiency. Digital technology plays a pivotal role in aiding employees to become more effective in their tasks. Technology, even basic office suites or collaboration platforms, can offer valuable time, financial and energy savings as processes can be conducted remotely or automated entirely.
Organisations are under continual pressure to compete digitally and long-established enterprise models are being disrupted by “born digital” start-ups. Therefore, it is essential that progressive businesses integrate and implement digital transformation strategy consistently across all networks, data, and applications to ensure that they achieve business goals and objectives.
Coined in 2007 by IDC, the third platform (sometimes referred to as the SMAC stack) is a combination of various technologies labelled innovation accelerators. With its speed, consolidation, growth, and innovation, it is the foundation for the next generation of business technology and how individuals relate to technology. Ultimately, small and large businesses are set to become exponentially agile and responsive to the ever-changing digital realm.
Expanded accessibility is an integral part of Third Platform technologies. Using the four founding pillars, the Third Platform is now delivering services that lower the cost of business technology while making it ubiquitous and ﬂexible to users inside and outside of the organisation.
Mobile — the increased accessibility of business applications and data via mobile and tablets devices unlocks operational streamlining. For example, a mobile workforce can be dispatched from head office to a remote site, collaborating with head office in real time to solve a problem. GPS tracking, closely tied with the next foundation, also opens additional revenue streams for organisations.
Big data and analytics — large enterprises that streamline their functions by applying the 3rd Platforms facilitate easy access to every data and most importantly makes it easier to analyse and support real-time and make informed decisions throughout all areas of business. Whether it’s an insurance ﬁrm using meteorological data in determining policyholders or hotel using analytics to create applicable discount suggestions—business intelligence and analytics are actively increasing business revenues.
Social — technology eases collaboration and communication between organisations and individuals. In the near future, it is likely that social aspects will be injected into virtually every product and service. Cloud will provide infrastructure, social technology to facilitate access, and mobile technology for data and information access. Most importantly consumer behaviour changes over time where the social aspect of unified communications would be valuable. For example, how consumers are looking for products in Google and what’s their intent.
Cloud computing — the 2nd platform relied on the costly (WANS) private wide area networks making business systems that are available away from the head ofﬁce data centre. In the late 1990s, organisations began shifting their IT systems to colocation servers and storage, and later to virtual and shared devices. With today’s Third Platform Hybrid cloud solutions, enterprises can put their systems at any location based on cost, risk, and available resources such as skills and space. This allows for easier remote maintenance and multi-site scalability.
Digital transformation means having a 360° view of the client — having data from every source at your ﬁngertips – and integration is the glue that can bind all this together. In the near future, there will be numerous cloud solutions, more Application Programming Interface (APIs), and IoT connected devices in most organisations. This ﬂood of new technologies may overwhelm businesses as they look for highly integrated full-stack solutions. Since integration is a driving force behind the failure or success of digital transformation strategy, you must go beyond simply connecting your systems. You ought to contemplate how your organisation develops on, expands, tests, and maintains the systems.
A corporate-wide strategy is required for any digital transformation, while a lack of strategic vision, improper business planning and inadequate change management strategy are the major transformation roadblocks. For digital organisation culture change, leaders must clarify a vision, set goals to attain, and give the whole team a purpose. It is also important to remember that digital transformation is not a one-individual or department journey. Success is unlikely when it is designed this way. While departments can be tasked with executing parts of the strategy, the whole organisation should be working toward the common goal.
Connected networks can also present greater security risks. For example, the Third Platform cloud environment shares the database infrastructure, widening potential attack vectors. Also, cyber crimes are becoming increasingly sophisticated along business systems. As a result, cloud technology adopters should be prepared for any potential threats and work towards revising and updating the current strategy to fit new technology. That way, businesses can deliver non-disruptive and seamless customer experience.
It takes a combination of technology and talent to undergo a digital transformation. The transformation will bring along various technological challenges and you need the right skills on board. You should train your workforce into digital literacy and help them build the skills required for the innovation. Moreover, if your current systems are creating skills gaps, you ought to evaluate technology partnerships and what they are offering.
Cloud is a fundamental enabler of digital transformation projects and provides the speed and scale needed for business to focus on the change. The importance of cloud includes:
To execute effectively digital transformation organisations should pivot their business process multiple times. Cloud computing saves you from the scuffles of investing in different IT resources by offering desirable computing resources, platforms, and infrastructure. Thus, the cloud can be accessed at any time, from anywhere and on any device and this allows your business to be agile and flexible.
Cloud offers commercial flexibility and a scalable service model where business only pays for the resources used. That will help in saving the capital expenditure of buying hardware and servers as the computing is all done in the cloud. Also, most clouds are delivered as SaaS (software-as-a-service) and therefore all the work of maintenance and upgrading a system will be managed by the vendor.
Digital transformation requires an organisation to adapt to a culture of creativity and innovation and abandon the old hierarchical chain of commands. Cloud computing ensures that files are accessed from any place and at any time and therefore, people can access and share insights swiftly. Also, it is possible to control the authority level of a user and ensure optimal delegation. Eventually, it helps create an ambience of collaboration and teamwork in the organisation.
With all data together in one place, the computing power of the cloud ensures that you can take advantage of powerful and secure analytics. You can now detect automatically any anomalous behaviour and flag it to users. Moreover, users will be able to understand easily the data and make data-driven and informed decisions with the information provided.
Cloud offers organisations with a digital workspace where they can easily innovate, build, test, and implement applications without the complex infrastructure setups. Thus, throughout the digital transformation strategy phase, your business can experiment with multiple applications on varying platforms.
When your database is stored in-house, you face constant risks of losing crucial information because of data breaches, brute force attacks, unexpected system shutdown, and disasters. With cloud hosting, you can create easily several backups of your data. That is particularly beneficial while dealing with big data as the chances of system failures can increase with big data analysis.
Digital transformation strategy is an enabler for total revamp of activities, processes, and capabilities across businesses – an engine to keep up with the ever-changing nature of technological evolution. It transforms the landscape of client engagement, marketing and commerce, and fundamentally ensures that businesses stay competitive in the digital world. Ultimately, better data-driven decisions will increase efficiency in measuring revenue, profitability, and investor value.
Digital transformation is a massive undertaking, especially for larger, established companies. When done right, it will produce a business that is more aligned with customer demands and resilient in the fast-moving digital future.
For more insights on digital transformation, see these resources:
Digital transformation strategy is an enabler for total revamp of activities, processes, and capabilities across businesses.