Overcoming Key Challenges of Digital Transformation

In the current digital age coined as ‘industry 4.0’, organizations around the world are all in fast pursuit of a digital transformation. Every modern business is a technology company at its core. What this means is that the success of businesses today lies in their ability to engineer IT solutions to support their organizational goals. Businesses have to be tech savvy in a way they haven’t had to be before, and with many challenges. In this article, we’ve compiled the key issues with digital transformation along with solutions to overcome them.

Key challenges of digital transformation

Lack of Clear Vision and Strategy

Only 17% of companies have reported having a comprehensive digital transformation strategy in place. This is an alarming figure given that the success of a digital transformation effort is dependent on its goals and strategy first and foremost. It’s intuitive – you cannot achieve something if you don’t know what you’re going for.

Solution:

Before setting out on your digital transformation journey, take a step back to build out a strategy and clearly define goals. In terms of the strategy, get out of the ‘campaign mentality’. Digital transformation is not a one-and-done campaign, it is an ongoing organizational effort. Be sure to lay out everyone’s roles within the plan, timelines, project milestones, and budget.

In terms of goals, define what success in digital transformation looks like. Choose metrics that tie into your overall company goals and use them to determine success. By looking into those metrics, you can assess where you are now and use that as your benchmark. Your goals and metrics may evolve as you continue your journey, but no matter what stage you’re in, you must always have a clear picture of where you’re headed.

 

Employee Pushback

Despite employees claiming to embrace ever-changing environments, the truth is, employees like being comfortable. They prefer mastering their role and continuing in the routine, as opposed to embracing change and the uncertainty that comes with it, not to mention the risk of failure.

Solution:

Company culture and good communication is the basis of successful digital transformation. Your executive team should be tasked with leading the effort of creating a culture that embraces constant innovation. Encourage your team to attend IT events, learn new tech, and take initiative to implement those lessons into company processes. Support them through their efforts and reward excellence, but don’t punish setbacks – they’re bound to happen.

From a communication standpoint, make sure to include your employees in your company’s goals and visions. Your efforts of building out a strategy and goals will go to waste if your team does not have visibility and understanding of what they are or how to execute successfully. It’s also easier to get employee buy-in if they understand what’s at stake and the cost of staying stagnant.

 

Digital Inflexibility

Digital transformation is an iterative process. New features are constantly implemented, measured, and adjusted based on usage data and user feedback. Part of this iterative process also entails the adjustment of internal workflows and business practices. The issue here is that many businesses today still operate with rigid and outdated technology stacks and processes, and some are even still married to their legacy business models. This limits their ability to implement necessary changes to keep up.

Solution:

Leverage agile processes and technology solutions that support frequent and ongoing product updates as well as features integration. This doesn’t necessarily mean discarding your mainframe altogether, but modern businesses need to make their data and business logic accessible through more robust and secure APIs. If your core systems were implemented more than five years ago, you might need to consider a major restructuring in order to support your digital strategy.

 

Network Vulnerability

As technology and digital processes evolve, so will network security threats. Cyber-attacks are sophisticated enough to handle even the newest system, software, or app. Cybersecurity professionals are accustomed to securing network and applications access. However, with the explosion of connected environments and devices, perimeter protection will no longer suffice to protect your networks, systems, and data.

Another factor contributing to your network vulnerability is the proliferation of endpoint devices, made even more complex with the BYOD trend.

Solution:

Successful digital transformation calls for the upgrade of network security as well. In today’s digital world, the classic, contained enterprise network no longer exists. Security must be embedded into all applications as the first line of defense. The idea is to build in security, as opposed to asking users to opt-in.

As for keeping your endpoint devices secure, your organization needs to adopt unified endpoint management (UEM). This allows your IT team to securely integrate the wide range of devices into critical business operations and manage them to enable a consistent user experience. It removes stacks, silos, and redundancies by enabling IT to stop using disparate systems to secure and control devices.

 

Lack of IT Resources and Budget

In terms of IT resources, there are two aspects – lack of manpower and the talent war. Many IT teams are too tied up in the everyday, foundational IT issues that they lack the time to focus on innovation. On the talent war side, attracting and retaining good IT professionals have proven to cost organizations both time and money due to low retention rates.

Solution:

Don’t waste your internal IT resources on "keeping the lights on." Consider outsourcing foundational IT functions to an experienced IT partner that will allow the time for innovating and driving the company towards the future. This also feeds into attracting and retaining better IT talent. Millennial tech professionals are not going to come running to a job opening involving mundane logistical IT tasks.

 

Digital transformation has the power to drive significant progress within your organization. We live in an age where there is a cost of ignoring innovation and staying stagnant. Don’t get left behind - begin mapping out your digital transformation journey today. 

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