At Trustmarque XPO 2019 we will be diving head-first into the deep and complex subject of Digital Transformation. A key priority for any CIO or senior IT leader.
But what is actually meant by digital transformation? Aren’t digital technologies supposed to be simpler and easier to manage? Why is it sometimes difficult for organisations to transform and realise the benefits of these technologies?
Here, we take a look at some key things to consider on the topic.
What is Digital Transformation?
A quick google search on digital transformation will present countless articles explaining how tired, outdated organisational activities, processes and ways of working can be improved by drawing on the power of new technologies. But the promise of a digital future offers greater benefits than simply improving organisational efficiency: the digital revolution is changing society and changing lives.
“Digital transformation isn’t just about business changing, it is about how technology is driving disruption across all industries and, – essentially – reshaping the world in which we live,” claims James Butler Chief Technology Officer at Trustmarque.
While many organisations and businesses may be the ones driving the digital agenda, it is no doubt having an unprecedented consequential effect on our wider society. Smart homes, artificial intelligence, and automated vehicles are all having significant impact at all levels of society, from changing individual lives to driving new growth in the global economy.
While the promise and opportunity is huge, success is not guaranteed. The critical decision that now faces organisations is not how to adopt digital technologies, but how to position the organisation to best exploit them.
A fusion of old methodologies with new technologies
IT departments generally fall into two broad categories when it comes to their role in digital transformation;
- Instigators / Innovators – These are the IT teams driving the digital agenda. They are responsible for defining the strategy and the long-term digital roadmap, testing new technologies. They often have sizeable IT budgets and free reign and will sell the digital vision into their senior stakeholders across the business. Subsequently they enable the business to change and transform.
- Implementers / Enablers – These are the more “traditional” IT teams who manage legacy ways of working and are often driven by others’ decisions. However, while they ultimately manage business as usual, they also need to enable change projects and must consider how to free up the budget to be more reactive. Digital Transformation is typically more focused on automating processes and streamlining infrastructure.
James says there are many choices and challenges to consider depending on which category an IT team falls within. “How do they cope with their position? What do they need to differently? How do they evolve their thinking? The strategies may be different for each, but the need for critical thinking in all scenarios is common,” he adds.
“There are also many opportunities for the ways of old and new to overlap. There is a significant role for old world IT within digital transformation. You need to modernise to prepare for the new world and your existing infrastructure could act as a sound stepping-stone. It’s about making previous investments useful and relevant before jumping into the unknown”.
Critical thinking for complex challenges
“Digital thinking for digital transformation is hard,” says Nathan Kitchen Head of Online Innovation, Trustmarque.
“While new services and technologies are being created at an astonishing rate, one of the key challenges this presents for many organisations is simultaneously developing the mindset, culture, and practices required to leverage them.”
Not only do organisations need to invest in significant skills development from the ground up in order to empower all users to get the best use out of new technologies, they must also transform the way the organisation solves problems.
At XPO, Nathan will be deep diving into the “digital thinking”, a critical success factor for digital transformation which explains how thought leaders can drive organisational change, learning culture, and ultimately, effective transformation.