By Gary Audin
Digital transformation is not just technology, not just a tool, not just an application. It is a change in doing business.
Because of this, digital transformation has many challenges regardless of its importance to the organization that plans to embark on this path.
The challenges will vary based on the industry, the organization size, what it already has installed, resources available, and the budget size.
The challenges facing those embarking on the path to digital transformation are described in the document “2019 Digital Transformation Market Trends Report” The report is based on responses from the members of the Webtorials community. About one third of the respondents are from the US with India, Canada, UK and China among the 35 countries represented. The respondent companies represent a large group of industries and a wide range of company sizes. The graphics in this blog are from the Webtorials report.
Budget is the Biggest Influence
The graphic below from the report, demonstrates that the budget commitment is the major challenge. The problem with the budgeting for digital transformation is that most organizations are entering new territory and will have difficulty determining what to spend and where to spend it. Besides the budget numbers, there is the difficulty of the commitment to continue to spend the budget during the project. Business influences may cause some budget reduction which then in turn can significantly undermine digital transformation projects.
C Level Buy In
Obtaining a budget is not enough. A successful digital transformation initiative will require C level executive support. Without the C level support, the commitment could be changed at any time. It is also important that the departments affected by digital transformation buy-in to the projects. What this means is that both C level and the departments affected must be well-educated and understand the purposes of the digital transformation and the benefits that will ensue.
It is important that everyone understand that such a project will probably not have any specific end date. There will be market changes, customer behavior changes, and technology changes. Digital transformation projects will have to respond to those changes to ensure that they continue to produce success.
Can you do it Alone?
The skills, resources, and expertise required for successful digital transformation will vary considerably. The smaller the organization, the more limited the resources, skills, and expertise available. The survey asked whether or not significant outside support, such as a MSP, would help in the project. The survey found that one third of the respondents felt that they could accomplish the project without a lot of help from outside resources. However when you look at the chart below, you discover that the confidence level about internal support is not that high.
Most of the respondents indicated that they are looking for outside help with these projects. Therefore any budget and commitment should include funds for outside support. What may be difficult is locating the right kind of support for your organization size and industry. More business-oriented support would help in generating the commitment and budget necessary for the successful project.
Getting the Infrastructure Ready
A ready infrastructure will mean more bandwidth to support the functions of digital transformation. However bandwidth is not enough. This is where the reliability and availability of your infrastructure becomes extremely important. The more you depend on the infrastructure, the more you depend on its high level of availability. A difficult effort may be encountered when you start analyzing the anticipated traffic requirements. You will have to speculate what the traffic effect may be. If you are very successful, digital transformation can produce more traffic than you can handle thereby affecting the customer experiences. You also have to look at the infrastructure and see how you can phase-in improvements prior to the initiation of digital transformation projects.
The most important technology investment reported was cloud migration for IT functions. This was followed by improved security. The third element, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and big data are very important because that is how you know whether or not the digital transformation projects are delivering what you invested in. The fourth area deals with mobility, collaboration, and unified communications. This should include document sharing and online project management. This is very important because it will help in the productivity of both internal users and external customers.
Voice oriented technologies were on the downturn until recently. The voice powered enterprise is increasing in popularity especially with the operation of Omni channel contact centers. This is a mixture of the contact center personnel plus the websites. It is very important that those embarking on digital transformation also include in their budget a number of tools for measuring the operation, effectiveness, and success of digital transformation. The last two items, software defined networks and network upgrades are of obvious. They improve performance and efficiency. But they alone will not make a digital transformation project successful.