We all talk about change and the need to embrace it rather than fear it. Digital change has touched each and every aspect of businesses and organisations of all sizes. But despite digital transformation dominating the business agenda, few seem to really understand what it is, let alone implement a coherent digital transformation strategy. But does the business world really need another elephant in the room? The answer is clearly a resounding ‘no’.
Recent statistics speak for themselves, business leaders lack the confidence that their businesses and employees are ready to embrace and craft innovative and competitive digital strategies. According to a global report by Progress entitled ‘Are Businesses Really Digitally Transforming or Living in Digital Denial?’ that surveyed over 700 decision makers across the globe, while most businesses understand the inherent benefits of “going digital”, the majority of respondents are hitting roadblock. More specifically, 62% say their organisation is in denial about the need to transform digitally, with 55% believing that they have a year or less to make digital inroads before suffering financially and competitively.
It is safe to assume that only a few businesses feel they are prepared for a full scale digital transformation, especially as this is ongoing and fast-paced. With big data, the Internet of Things and cloud computing taking off, and smart gadgets, wearables and bring-your-own-device policies, changing the way we work and do business, the clocks of digital transformation are ticking loud and clear. It is no longer a matter of fearing digital change or not. Successful businesses are the ones driving digital transformation.
Digital transformation is in fact a great opportunity for technology experts to drive business goals by empowering and encouraging business leaders to embrace its full implications. To do so they need to make clear in their strategies that digital transformation encompasses the entire organisation and not just certain processes or parts of it. A ‘siloed mentality’ will only hurt any attempts to bring about agility and forward thinking, both of which are defining features of change. Digital Transformation refers to the transformation of an entire organisation to become more agile and deliver compelling customer experiences. Although this includes customer facing apps and websites, it is by no means exhausted to these. Digital transformation is in fact a top to bottom rethink of what it means to operate in a digital world, requiring changes to the way an organisation operates inside out and everywhere in between.
The leading players in digital transformation will use technology to truly personalise web experiences across all screens and interfaces. In terms of IT this means modernising existing applications today and directing the course new business applications will take tomorrow. At the core of all processes are mobility and the delivery of compelling web experiences for users across all channels and platforms.
The advantage for tech experts in driving this change is that it requires they embrace uncertainty, rather than fight it – a role they are entirely used to, unlike business professionals that might prefer a safe game. IT is all about disruption and the ‘next big thing’. It does not therefore have the stability and continuity of other industries as it requires being able to constantly learn, change and adapt in an ever-moving and ever-changing environment.
Digital transformation brings a host of opportunities but not everyone is fit enough to benefit. Change does not affect everyone the same way and only those organisations that understand it and are dynamic and agile enough to lead through change will be able to maximise these opportunities and win the game.
By Mark Armstrong, VP and MD EMEA at Progress