IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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Demystifying digital transformation: A marathon, not a sprint
Thu, 17th Aug 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Organisations are embarking on digital transformations that go beyond simple automation and cost savings and journey into new areas.

By doing this, businesses can enhance processes, ramp up value propositions and strengthen internal and external relationships.

Stuart Mills, regional director, ANZ, CenturyLink, comments, “Leading companies invest heavily in developing a sound digital transformation strategy, and the quality of that strategic approach is paramount to the overall success of transforming a business.

However, Mills says that even as the IT industry is rapidly evolving, it's important to keep in mind that digital transformation is less of a sprint and more of a marathon.

“To maximise the efficiency of their digital strategy, companies must take the pulse of the competitive landscape and adjust their approach accordingly.

CenturyLink has compiled a list of suggestions on how organisations can mould their digital transformation strategy:

1. Embrace change

Business innovators need a platform upon which they can experiment and take digital risks, paving the way toward a digital user experience that generates enterprise value.

The motivation behind many digital transformation initiatives is fear of being bypassed by the competition. Without a sound strategy, enterprises risk being outperformed and outdated.

Changes in business structure and the overall market can come in many ways and from seemingly anywhere.

Therefore, it's imperative for companies to be forward-thinking. Most simply can't afford to wait to see what the competition is doing; they also must consider what the future has in store and assess what changes will occur in other industries that will inevitably permeate their own as well.

2. Know the customer base

Understanding the target customer base is essential to the development and implementation of a good digital transformation strategy.

Companies can't afford to operate on assumption. Often, when the way organisations do business changes, the target audience shifts as well. This shift requires companies to launch new digital initiatives rather than rely on a basic, non-specific digital strategy.

It's a matter of being proactive instead of reactive to what customers demand, so it's good practice to task research teams to study the needs and capabilities of users, or the spending habits and business decisions of potential customers.

Identifying and addressing the preferences and pain points of the company's target customer base makes it easier to work efficiently to design a stable digital solution.

3. Adopt and align the culture

Companies that undergo effective digital transformations understand the importance of creating the right culture to ensure the transformation continues to improve the day-to-day work while meeting milestones going forward.

There is no better example highlighting the importance of adopting and aligning the culture of a company than the hybrid IT solution, with its smooth transition from legacy platforms to cloud-based technologies.

Making the decision to migrate from physical hardware to a cloud-based business model indicates the realisation that the demands and needs of the customer are always changing as well.

Customer feedback loops and user group opportunities are a good way to explain and test digital transformations within a community. And, although the challenges are truly unique, adopting new ways of operating and embracing a new culture serve a company well in the future.

Mills explains, “Digital transformation is about reducing cost and friction while using capabilities like automation, virtualisation, and optimisation to capture opportunities to maximise efficiency.

“Important tasks like performing maintenance, applying patches, administering the day-to-day upkeep of environments, systems, and process will be easier in the hybrid model.

Mills adds, “This is the end state the IT world has been waiting for. Understanding how to make technology a true growth engine requires the right vehicle: digital transformation.

“The future will reward those players that have proven capabilities to work in a hybrid, balanced way that lets them address the ever-growing needs of their customers. Hybrid IT architecture, and the hybrid network at its core, are the foundations of digital transformation.