We’ve been talking about digital transformation for a while now. As consumers become more buyer-savvy and demand more from their tech, IT professionals working in both B2B and B2C companies feel the pressure to meet that demand.
But it’s not so easy. Formidable barriers exist in the people, processes and technology through which business is conducted and technology is delivered. From bottlenecks to culture flaws to tech debt and financial constraints, the list of barriers can appear endless to any IT professional tasked with transforming their organization to be customer-centric and ready for anything.
Play to win
Digital transformation can be thought of as breaking down these barriers to meet that demand. It’s no easy task and many organizations’ transformation initiatives are highly matrixed, cross-functional plans that span multiple years. Organizations that get it right are characterized by an enterprise-wide culture that is agile, innovative, resilient, connected, trustworthy, empathetic and always learning. Until now, the game plan for most has been ‘take it slow and do it right’.
Enter coronavirus. The global COVID-19 pandemic has upped the ante so that what was once characterized as the ‘holy grail’ of IT optimization is now a necessity for both business continuity and a successful emergence from this crisis. IT professionals recognize the need to accelerate their once steadily paced plans to transform. In a study* conducted in February of 2020, 64.4% of participating CEOs from all over the globe indicated that investments in digital infrastructure are more important now than ever before. The number is similar – 64.6% – for investments in intelligence. So, recognition that the timeline has changed doesn’t seem to be an issue. The challenge becomes how to execute a carefully crafted 3- or 5-year plan within 2 months.
IT leaders consistently bring up agility as a quality necessary for radical scaling of digital transformation efforts. In a recent blog article, Agility – The defining factor in surviving a crisis, Andy Abbas, CEO and founder of Data Agility Group says, “The willingness to learn and quickly adapt is what will separate the winners from the losers. The learning part is easy, but the adapting part requires certain things already be in place.”
What are those things that need to be in place? IT leaders responded that they need to ensure they support the following activities in order to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances with agility:
- Engender trust with customers
- Ensure reliable digital services and experiences
- Create a dynamic work model
- Deliver innovative services and experiences at scale
- Create empathy with customers at scale
* source : CEO Priorities Survey, Fielded January-February 2020, IDC. n=432 CEOs worldwide