Wikipedia says: ‘Digital Transformation (DT) is not necessarily about digital technology, but about the fact that technology, which is digital, allows people to solve their traditional problems’.This doesn’t help to narrow things down. The fact is that digital transformation means different things to different people but only makes sense if it has a strategic objective, with a focus on enhancing the customer experience and/or improving operational efficiency through technology innovation. If businesses want to secure their future, they need a digital strategy to chart their digital transformation.
Digital transformation must always start by re-assessing how your business currently operates and by looking closely at the people, processes and existing technology. Only then can you look to change business processes and harness new technologies to automate the way you work and deliver services to customers. The endgame will be different for different sectors and businesses, but some common outputs involve giving customers direct access to systems for online sales, self-service helpdesks or logistics. In a business-to-business world, it may involve taking people out of the equation altogether. So instead of ‘getting our people to talk to your people’, it is more a case of getting our systems to talk to your systems.
Most companies are already along the digital transformation track and need to calculate their own digital maturity to figure out where they are on the journey. Measuring human-driven processes against automated processes and setting a target to increase the level of automation is a good starting point. A common mistake is to see digital transformation as just about being online. It’s also about removing the human middleware at the backend, thereby reducing cost and improving efficiency.
My top tip is to find a digital transformation specialist or architect who can help demystify the topic and offer practical, actionable advice. As a trusted partner they can provide high-level strategy and with a consultative approach, they can help identify, tailor and deploy solutions that deliver SLAs and ROI around operational efficiency and enhanced customer experience.
The network that will underpin almost all DT initiatives, so performance at the network and application layers is critical. The next thing is security. Digital transformation is pointless if it is not inherently secure and optimised. There is a flavour of cloud in most new DT projects and managed services have an increasingly key role to play, to speed up delivery, reduce up-front investment and provide a more flexible way to adapt to changing demand.
Digital transformation is happening everywhere; in large corporates to the public sector and across all verticals. But the biggest opportunities probably lie with SMBs. While many new SMBs were born in the cloud and already agile and automated, many still need a strong helping hand to kick-start them along the DT journey.
Karl Roe is VP Services and Cloud Solutions for pan-EMEA, high-value distributor Nuvias Group. Roe has over 20 years’ experience in qualifying, creating, selling and delivering profitable data centre, ASP, SaaS, IaaS, cloud and outsourced ICT business solutions into SMB and enterprise markets. Roe has held global service transformation and cloud enablement leadership positions, working on both vendor and reseller transformation, as well as working at major software companies such as Odin, Microsoft and Oracle.