Whatever a company’s vision for the future, it must include digital transformation in order to grow
Transformative technologies are entering the workplace at exponential speed, bringing the change businesses need to not only survive but thrive. Collaboration between enterprises, modern ways of engaging with the customer-base, more innovation within the workforce itself, and the ability to draw valuable insights from captured data, are just several of the key benefits helping businesses grow.
Recent studies report that worldwide spending on the technologies and services that enable digital transformation is forecast to reach $2.3 trillion (£1.8 trillion) in 2023, with the period from 2019 to 2023 seeing a steady expansion of digital spending to reach this figure. This shows that increasingly the digital transformation process is being viewed as a long-term investment, with initiatives set to take over a 50% share of worldwide technology investment by 2023, reflecting the global commitment to enterprise- wide digital transformation.
Technology is no longer a choice, it’s a fundamental business strategy that must be interwoven with wider operative-initiatives. This urgent need is causing a fresh wave of challenges to overwhelm IT leaders, however. More business applications, more connected devices, and higher expectations are permanently modifying their role. Today, CIO’s must operate at the same pace as the front end of the business, shifting their focus from traditional technology management to projects that steer the business towards growth and make it ready for the future.
Everyone expects on-demand
Today’s customer, internal or external, expects the same kind of experience in a professional environment that they have with technology in their personal lives. But for a business, this can be challenging to achieve. There have never been more choices, both in terms of how and where to deliver applications from, and who to partner with in the delivery of services.
Businesses increasingly demand more agile hybrid IT services and agile networking capability, and getting the user experience right is a critical part of business transformation. This goes beyond just the usability of applications for employees or external customers, and includes the experience of working with the IT team and tools.
For today’s IT leaders, the need to maintain the operational discipline around security and performance will remain a priority.
Helping employees be more effective
Workforce engagement is a hot topic. Employers are looking for new ways to create productivity improvements, with digital technology playing a pivotal role in helping employees to become more effective in their primary roles.
Digital transformation provides a valuable opportunity for core business functions, such as finance and HR, to move away from manual processes and automate key areas like payroll, enabling leaders to focus on wider business opportunities.
The network’s role in supporting innovation – by enabling remote working and providing access to technology and services on demand – is critical to delivering an environment that enables employees to achieve.
But the pressure to deliver consumer-level experience, great performance and enterprise-grade security can mean that on-demand services run the risk of becoming a millstone round the necks of IT departments.
Security is a top business priority
One of the biggest headaches for many IT leaders is how to place more data at the edge of their networks, while keeping that data secure. This is an increasingly complicated task, requiring rigorous enforcement around access, data compliance and shielding from attacks. But even the most stringent security measures are useless if an underperforming network forces staff to go elsewhere for flexibility or faster speeds.
It is essential that progressive businesses implement a security strategy consistently across all networks, applications and data, whatever services or service providers are being used.
To allow the effects of digital transformation to be truly transformative, CIOs should surround themselves with both business and technology partners that understand the broader business objectives and can operate honestly and transparently to achieve these goals.
Strengthen business partnerships
Demands from customers are increasing, and competition within industries is fierce. Firms are becoming increasingly reliant on each other, working with suppliers and distributors, sub-contractors and specialised consultants, with the aim of producing a diverse range of products and services that interest customers.
Managing these partners often requires document-based communication, a process traditionally viewed as an exhausting obstacle to efficiency. But technology is now available that can redesign this process. Utilising an eSignature system can enable a streamlined workflow that is more transparent, timely and accurate. This can even bridge the gap to mobile technology, helping employees be more effective and productive day-to-day.
More visible business priorities can often take precedence when compared with internal improvements within enterprises, especially as IT departments are increasingly stretched and budgets can be tight. But this is a mistake.
Through building a digital process at an early stage and integrating the wider organisation with technology, businesses stay ahead of the curve and make themselves more available to future partners. Internal processes can become more efficient and flexible, with the ability to scale as the business grows. Over time, digital transformation produces the tools to generate time and resource gains, strengthening business partnerships.
Make better decisions, faster
Placing data and analytics at the center of a digital transformation strategy will allow businesses to take advantage of big data.
Enterprises today have access to greater volumes of data than ever before, in no small part due to the Internet of Things (IoT). With the right set of analytical tools, this data can be converted into valuable business insights that can be used to make more informed, quicker decisions. The deeper analytical tools are embedded into business operations, the greater the integration and effect they can have.
Leveraging AI-based technologies can be the key to tapping into the potential of big data. Innovations across data and analytics are constantly rising to the surface, and many harbour advanced AI capabilities which both modernise existing applications and sift through data at a faster and more reliable rate, all supporting leaders in their endeavors to make the better, faster decisions that result in progression.
It’s nigh on impossible to monitor all the developments in IT that help facilitate digital transformations, however a close eye on how advances in AI can support big data initiatives is a sure way to stay ahead of the curve.
Source: IT Pro