When they talk about ‘Digital Transformation’, the majority of businesses are focused on transitioning their internal or customer-facing processes to new software systems. These systems are often cloud based, allowing organisations to leverage data more effectively to gain a deeper understanding of their customers, market trends and competitors. It’s commonly accepted that all businesses need to undergo some level of digital transformation in order to survive.
However, the hard truth is that a large proportion of ‘digital transformation’ projects are unsuccessful – up to 70% of technology projects fail to deliver their desired results. Many organisations underestimate the level of planning and preparation required to ensure that both the organisation’s infrastructure and culture are ready to accept the change, and this is the reason adoption within the business is low and ROI is not delivered.
What steps can businesses take to ensure they realise the full potential of their next digital transformation project?
Align technology with business strategy
One of the primary factors hindering digital transformation is a failure to align the selection of IT infrastructure or software with wider business strategy. IT is an important investment, even for the smallest company. As such, this investment must be strategically aligned with the wider needs and objectives of the business and should also consider the future needs as the business grows.
A key pitfall of a lack of technical expertise is failing to see beyond software. For example, if an organisation upgrades critical operational systems to the latest cloud-based AI data processing SaaS, they should also consider upgrading their connectivity network infrastructure – without sufficient bandwidth, the system will struggle to deliver results.
In reality, few businesses have the level of IT expertise within the leadership team to develop an effective strategic IT road map, but this is no excuse for not thinking strategically about IT; an independent IT specialist can guide you to the hardware and software that meets your business needs. You would not consider growing a business without consulting a financial expert, so why shouldn’t the same go for IT?
Integrate transformation with existing systems
If IT strategy is not aligned with the wider business, there is the risk that new technology won’t integrate with existing systems or processes. As a result, the project may require a laborious transition process, involving manually transferring data from legacy systems, extensive additional technical development and lengthy training for those who are going to use the system.
Your digital transformation strategy should consider how systems will be used by end users, as well as how to streamline existing processes. One of the key benefits of upgrading systems is that you may able to automate certain processes, reducing the burden of paperwork, or combine inputs from disparate systems, improving users’ access to information they need to do their jobs more efficiently.
Communicate the value of digital transformation
Sometimes, digital transformation fails simply because the wider business is not aware that it is happening. Many businesses find that even well-planned projects meet significant resistance to change which can to poor user adoption.
Business leaders need to articulate why they are undertaking the digital transformation process and take the time to ‘market’ the benefits of the new system, rather than simply focusing on project execution. When users understand why the new technology is being implemented, how it will benefit them and have been trained to use it effectively, they are more likely to actually use it.
“PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey polled 2,216 business and IT leaders from 53 countries and asked them what hinders digital transformation. Some 64 percent of respondents said lack of collaboration between IT and business is to blame, 58 percent cited inflexible or slow processes, 41 percent listed lack of integration of new and existing technologies, 38 percent named outdated technologies and 37 percent put down lack of properly skilled teams.” CIO
How Professional Services support Digital Transformation
In many organisations, internal IT resources are stretched to the limit, with most of their time spent just keeping the lights on. As business becomes increasingly digital, the IT manager is under inordinate pressure to manage an incredibly broad remit. They must stay on top of IT and Information security, build custom infrastructure solutions, manage ongoing projects and set up new software, not to mention the daily fire-fight of IT support. It is highly unlikely that you would find all of the skills required for today’s business technology in a single individual, and it is therefore no surprise that most IT ‘departments’ struggle to comprehensively plan and implement digital transformation projects, on budget and within a set time frame.
Therefore, when planning a significant IT project, there are many benefits to engaging with an external IT partner for help and guidance, to augment the organisation’s existing IT function with additional skills and knowledge that supports the delivery of the desired business outcomes. The services that an IT partner can provide can include developing a clear IT strategy that enables growth and differentiation; planning implementation and managed roll out; security & compliance, and training for all levels of the business.
At Conosco, we have developed the ‘Office of the CTO’ and professional IT services to help our clients ensure that their digital transformation projects deliver ROI and effective change. From developing a strategic IT road map to acting as a virtual Chief Information Officer, our team provides the expertise to guide you through key IT projects. When it’s an infrastructure refresh, migration to the cloud or an office move, our business-first approach ensures that we align your technology investment to business need and deliver the right results.
If you have any questions about Conosco Professional Services then please get in touch with one of the team.