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True Digital Transformation: Taking an Ever-Evolving Journey

Digital transformation is more than just adopting technologies to improve products and processes. It’s a journey toward digitizing legacy or analog functions to reap the benefits of scale, automation and speed. The goal is a digitally transformed business—with empowered employees, engaged customers and optimized operations—that unlocks business value and drives competitive advantage.

Companies have been seemingly digitally “transforming” for years. Realistically, though, most have likely been undergoing incremental digital change rather than true digital transformation. While the former may address the need to remain relevant and competitive in an ever more digital world, the latter, when deployed correctly, should look to build real, long-term competitive advantage.

Then along came a pandemic. Many companies were forced to accelerate their digital metamorphosis as a result. While some changes may become permanent, this short-term, yet accelerated wave of digital technology adoption must not be confused with the true digital transformation needed for long-term success.

Simply adopting modern technology is not guaranteed to meet business needs in our rapidly changing environment. Customers’ needs are likely to evolve and change, and technology adopted to play digital “catch-up” will not necessarily help businesses stay ahead of competitors.

Clearly understanding the difference between digital catch-up and true digital transformation is key. Transformation requires businesses to reimagine not just how they work but how they create value for themselves and customers. No matter how many digital initiatives you implement, you can’t expect to speed past competitors simply by adopting the same technologies.

The good news is that sixty-four percent of businesses recognize that they need to build new digital businesses to stay economically viable through 2023, says McKinsey & Co. Another 21 percent will embed digital technologies into their current business model and a surprising 11% believe that their current business models will suffice.  

True digital transformation is a journey, not a destination

Digital transformation is an overall organizational change—a complete makeover, per se—that helps businesses adapt, remain competitive and stay profitable. Ultimately, it’s an ongoing journey.

It’s an ever-evolving process to address growth, efficiency and customer experience and support wider business objectives. It’s about optimizing existing processes to deliver greater return on investment, while also creating new practices that enable the business to accomplish the previously impossible. Digital transformation is as much an organizational transformation as a business one.

But an effective digital transformation doesn’t force companies to take a leap in the dark and transform the entire business overnight or retrain an entire workforce. Instead, it should take a lifecycle approach: assess the current state of play for roadblocks and security considerations, create a migration strategy that allows for future innovation and quick workload migration and build in scalability to respond to customer demand, while ensuring performance and security via managed services.

Finding success, the first time

A recent study found 73 percent of enterprises failed to gain any business value whatsoever from their digital transformation efforts. Furthermore, 78 percent failed to meet their business objectives or, to flip the script, just 22 percent achieved the intended results. So, why are so many businesses getting it wrong?

On a practical level, getting digital transformation right requires drawing up a clearly defined roadmap that starts with an assessment of your digital maturity and then defines where you want to be. To know where you are going, you need to know where to start.

The best roadmaps are those aligned with business strategy from top to bottom. At the top, the big picture goals need to be broken down into executable tactics and translated into significant business outcomes. From the bottom, customer and user insights need to be fed back to executives who can monitor progress and make necessary revisions.

Digital data center transformation should follow a phased approach to reduce the risk of downtime. It should also tailor their transformation to specific departmental needs. From there, organizations can scale the changes to ensure seamless, company-wide integration.

Despite the benefits of business transformation and a pandemic-induced acceleration in digital strategies, companies often hesitate to take the first step, whether due to resource limitations, migration worries or just plain fear of the unknown. Working with a knowledgeable technology partner, however, can help you overcome hurdles by simplifying and streamlining the process. Businesses can continue to focus on their day-to-day responsibilities, while the technology partner manages the end-to-end digital transformation process and helps you over the hump.

For more information on how Logicalis can help your business harness the benefits of true digital transformation, contact us.

Jon Groves is CEO of Logicalis US.