Digital Transformation – The Buzzword Simplified – Part 4
 

In my last post, I had detailed the key tips to do it right, pitfalls to avoid, typical Organizantion R&R in the quest for organizations to attempt digital transformation. In this post, I will focus primarily on the outlook, optimization, innovations that can be cornerstone of any digital transformation journey.

IDC estimates that 40% of all technology spending will be applied to “digital transformation,” with enterprises spending nearly $2 trillion by the year 2022. The trouble is, few businesses understand how to maximize their investment while also keeping the business at peak performance. Additionally, companies don’t always explore all the ways that services, processes and digital partnerships can support their digital strategy.

Quite often, executives spend considerable budget on digital programs, only to find they haven’t achieved the desired results. What’s more, digital investments have led to confusion among employees and partners alike, whereby teams are pulled in two very different directions: On the one side are technical and operational requirements, legacy technologies, tight timeframes and cost pressure; on the other are creativity, modernization, innovation and groundbreaking products or services.

Nowhere is the postmortem of troubled digital partnerships more evident than in Agile software development projects. Applied correctly, Agile can be an effective and game-changing collaborative tool to build applications quickly and deliver real business value. However, it’s not uncommon for partners to quickly assemble software that doesn’t fully align with business goals or fails to achieve a desired impact.

Optimizing Investments

We need to address how companies and executives can better understand the full implications of digital pursuits and devise a digital strategy to get the most out of these endeavors.

Before embarking on a digital initiative, it’s important to develop specific and mutually agreed-upon business metrics and goals. Doing so helps align companies and their respective partners. Additionally, three strategies ensure companies maximize their digital efforts, investments and experience:

  • Develop the business skills of your digital team. Digital talent should support more than just doing “digital stuff;” they should also ensure their efforts support company performance. Too often, teams don’t have the insight or training to align technology with business issues and concerns. Spend time with the digital team to ensure they understand how the company works, identify the  success metrics that are most meaningful to the health of the company, and choose the technology approaches to meet those goals.
  • Forge meaningful partnerships. Companies typically approach their digital challenges in one of three ways: build their own technology, buy technology and talent by acquiring a strong digital player, or find a partner that can synergistically help them grow and benefit from the combined strengths of both companies. Enlisting the help of a strategic partner is essential for companies that lack core digital skills to build modern, high-impact products and experiences.

Smart enterprises share risks and rewards with their partners while staying focused on a common vision. While selecting the right partner is often about operational and financial efficiencies, businesses today also expect partners to have “skin in the game” and be willing to share risks as well as reap rewards.

  • Build a culture of collaboration. Encouraging a culture of collaboration introduces new thinking and skill sets that enable both the company and its digital partner to work together to increase quality without compromising delivery. Internal and external teams are held to the same KPIs, measuring velocity, quality, product impact and autonomy, which allows for a seamless transition upon rollout.

One of the tangible outcomes of building a collaborative culture is the ability to put in place better processes and workflows, especially when it comes to testing automation. With our model, new product engineer sprints are implemented with a primary focus on building out an MVP (minimally viable product).  In turn, this allows for the rapid build and evolution of upcoming platform features, and the potential to reduce testing time from months to a handful of weeks – saving millions of dollars.

Innovating While Running the Business

In today’s fast-moving digital marketplace, companies don’t have the luxury of time. Businesses must incorporate new products and technologies swiftly and in parallel with ongoing commercial activities. No company wants to hit the pause button on revenue-generating services or products.

This represents the real opportunity with digital: transform your business for tomorrow without stopping your business from performing today. I’m willing to bet $2 trillion that you like the sound of that.

Please feel free to review my other series of posts 

Authored by Venugopala Krishna Kotipalli

Digital Transformation – The Buzzword Simplified – Part 3
 

In my last post, I had detailed the key approaches to Digital Transformation. In this post, I will focus primarily on useful tips, prominent roles, all the known pitfalls for any digital transformation journey.

The idea is to understand all the learnings from different customers experienced on their digital transformation journeys and ensure that one takes good care in not succumbing to known issues. The posts also lists some best practices that should be embraced for the entire journey, this will make the implementation more efficient and effective and less cumbersome for the people involved.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION TIPS

Let us briefly cover the six tips that govern a successful digital transformation journey

The question remains: when should you make preemptive changes? The observation of biological systems teaches us that it is optimal for companies to begin searching well before they exhaust their current sources of profit, and that firms should use a mix of ‘big steps’ to move to uncharted terrain and ‘small steps’ to uncover adjacent options at low cost. Regardless, having a strong bias toward change is critical.

ESSENTIAL DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ROLES

While emerging tech and revamped processes are crucial, having the right skills on staff is essential to any digital transformation.

Software engineers, cloud computing specialists and product managers remain key roles for companies seeking to roll out new products and services. DevOps leaders galvanize software development by merging development with operations, enabling companies to continuously iterate software to speed delivery.

Data scientists and data architects are also in high demand, as companies seek to glean insights out of vast troves of data, and transformations lean increasingly on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Plus, IT departments supporting business-wide transformations also require UX designers, digital trainers, writers, conversational brand strategists, forensic analysts, ethics compliance managers and digital and workplace technology managers.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PITFALLS

Digital transformations are lagging or even failing for several reasons, including poor leadership, disconnects between IT and the business, lagging employee engagement and substandard operations.

The primary obstacles include the ability to move fast and to innovate while stripping down legacy processes and technical debt investments that have served us well for a long time. The key culprits of a derailed digital transformation are obsession with big bang change, focus on cost cutting as a business driver, and failure to loop in the business.

Boardrooms and C-suites talk about digital and there is pressure to show something and show results, which creates wrong expectations about how quickly what can be done and when. When the investments don’t pay off, people blame the CIO, who finds himself or herself out of a job.

Moreover, approaching digital transformation as a technology journey independent of the business is a recipe for failure. If a clever CIO comes up with a clever idea to change something with new tech, that’s great. The next step is bringing it to the business and having the business own the process. When they own the process, you drive end-to-end transformation that includes processes, people, policies and tech.  The siloed approach always fails.”

A typical role distribution for digital jobs within a company is depicted below for reference.

Adapting to change is nothing new in our industry. But the unprecedented pace of change and colliding trends like the internet of things, digital partner ecosystems, rapid cloud adoption, and machine learning are creating the perfect storm. A storm that is changing the business landscape. There is no one size fits all approach to digital transformation, each strategy will be unique to each organization. However, a focus of balancing activities across the right business model, right partners, right technology, right mindset provides the compass to guide a successful transformation.

Stay tuned…. Part 4 of this foray, we will look into some of the outlooks, optimizations and innovations that are key to any Digital transformation journey.

Please feel free to review my other series of posts 

Authored by Venugopala Krishna Kotipalli