Much like any journey, overcoming barriers is a part of the pathway to digital transformation. Digital transformation touches on many areas of an organisation, and is particularly important for those organisations with a large number of employees.
The digital transformation journey is a huge cultural shift as different teams compete for funding and resources through shared services, and this divergence leads to disparity across departments. However, by having a strong vision that is implemented in stages, and freeing up investment and resources, CIOs and leadership teams can set their company up for success.
The journey to digital transformation is a cultural one
Gartner has studied and identified major obstacles to the journey to digital transformation that most businesses face. It was found that corporate culture, costs, and existing infrastructure are three of the biggest obstacles that CIOs especially need to overcome to transform their organisation.
In addition to this, a Harvard Business Review report identified work silos as one of the three major challenges to transformation, followed by an inability to experiment quickly and a lack of access to the right tools and resources. In some cases, an isolated business unit or company may be working on the right technology, but its goals are different from those of the wider company. This makes it difficult to adopt the ideas of the business units and define a strategy that drives the company's transformation agenda on all fronts.
Many organisations find it difficult to go beyond a simple project list when developing an effective digital transformation strategy. As companies continue to embrace digital change, they find that digital business is not as easy as buying the latest technology, and requires significant changes in the company culture.
There are clear steps businesses can take to help them overcome these barriers and develop a unified transformation vision and strategy. The biggest obstacle is cultural, and companies must focus their efforts on leadership to realise the transformational visions that others are recognising. As Gartner’s study found, digital innovation helps companies win customer loyalty and create new business models. To become a digital enterprise, organisations need a culture of collaboration in which people can work across borders and discover new ideas. They need to define the digital mindset, assemble a "digital innovation team" and develop a culture of continuous learning.
"The reality is that digital business demands different skills, working practices, organisational models and even cultures," said Marcus Blosch, research vice president at Gartner.
"To change an organisation designed for a structured, ordered, process-oriented world to one designed for ecosystems, adaptation, learning and experimentation is hard. Some organisations will navigate that change, and others that can't change will become outdated and be replaced."
You need to have a vision
For many CIOs, delivering digital innovation is more difficult than it first appears. Addressing these common challenges can remove barriers to innovation and enable companies to adopt and take advantage of new technologies.
Gartner believe successful CIOs know how to connect the dots and sell to others within their business through their vision. Senior executives say that overcoming barriers to digital transformation has as much to do with building an organisation that is equipped to keep pace with change as it does with being ready for change.
In order to project what companies should look like in the next five to ten years, they should first consider the elements that influence the vision. This ensures they can see how to break down their digital transformation strategy and develop it into meaningful steps. While smaller system updates are needed, this stage calls for major changes to the business model.
"It's not necessary to have everyone on board in the early stages. Try to find areas where interests overlap, and create a starting point. Build a first version, test the idea and use the success story to gain the momentum needed for the next step," said Mr. Blosch.
For those companies that work through their digital transformation projects using an agile method, this breaks up this process and makes it more likely the company will see better results.
Read more: How digital transformation technologies are enhancing business operations
Freeing up investment and resources
Gartner’s study also found that a small number of companies are able to scale their digital transformation efforts successfully.
To harness digital transformation for meaningful change, companies need to free up investment and invest in resources. A digital transformation journey should not just be about shifting budgets from traditional IT, such as data centres and networks, to software.
Instead, investment in underlying infrastructure and solutions that emphasise simplification, automation, and performance improvements is key to accelerating the entire business agenda, including the development of new business models, new products and services, and new technologies. The use of digital technologies is also an essential differentiator for successful companies, as this creates organisational efficiency, increases customer engagement and improves employee satisfaction.
Setting up for success
Digital transformation doesn’t have to be quite the long journey that many organisations often face. By taking steps to break up the stages of the process as well as having a clear vision, freeing up investment and resources, projects can be implemented more successfully and workplace culture can change.
Another helpful aid can be including a digital transformation consultant who can guide the digital transformation journey process. This is an area where Nukon excel in service, so reach out and connect with us to discuss how we can help you.