What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the phrase we use to describe the dramatic ways in which businesses are adapting to meet the requirements of today’s digital era—one in which we are facing profound and far-reaching changes in the way digital technology is created, managed, and consumed.
[source: BMC] Digital business transformation can rightly be called a paradigm shift. As organizations race to digitize more and more of the services they provide, we enter the age of “More”—more people, using more technology, from more locations, for more of the time.
The role of IT in digital business transformation
As an IT management professional, you are witnessing the impact of digital transformation from a unique perspective: the proliferation of technology means there’s more complexity to manage, and the elevated role of technology in modern life means the impact and outcome of the services you provide have never been more visible or more valued.
For example, mobile devices and the apps they run are fuelling new expectations from employees. Cloud computing has redrawn traditional boundaries with new models of procurement, deployment, support, and management. Business infrastructure and machinery, not traditionally considered information technology, are becoming smarter, network enabled, and part of an ever-expanding Internet of Things.
As a result, priorities in IT management are shifting and a balance of new methods and traditional approaches needs to be struck to manage the sheer scale of the digital transformation challenge.
Creating a digital transformation strategy
IT management is pivotal to the success of an effective digital transformation program. With so much dependence on technology for the future success of the business, IT finds itself in the position of needing to excel in every dimension. Innovative services that give the business a competitive edge also need to be rock-solid, cost-efficient to deliver, and extremely secure. They should also be simple to audit, a source of business insights, and they also need to continuously improve.
For many, this introduces a tension between the need to transform the business through innovation, and the less glamorous work of “keeping the lights on” and having an effective operating platform.
It’s necessary to define a foundation for digital transformation that allows you to manage the current and future complexities that this transformation presents.
Key steps in your digital transformation roadmap
Manufacturers have long understood that if you want to free up resources to focus on innovation, and therefore stay ahead of the competition, your core operations have to be lean, mean, and automated. The same is true for an organization looking to digitally transform.
- Empower employees: From the way you provide support and share knowledge, to the applications your teams use to underpin effective service delivery—investing in a more human-centered approach is critical to your success.
- Use intelligence to get ahead of the game: You need to unlock the value of the information within your IT infrastructure and supporting management solutions. Being more data-driven and making better use of analytics, allow you to proactively manage service quality and build a more complete and useful model of the infrastructure you’re managing.
- Embrace the lean, agile approach of DevOps: Apps and applications are arguably the most visible and important of the services you provide. For both apps and applications, speed to market and agility have become primary competitive weapons. Streamlining your ability to procure, develop, provision, and manage apps (and applications) will give you a huge advantage in keeping pace with rapid business change.
- Exploit automation: The success of your digital transformation program depends to a very large extent on the strategic use of automation. The ability to consistently accomplish critical tasks rapidly and with minimal use of resources can give you significant competitive edge. From an IT management perspective, IT automation allows you to drastically reduce the time and resources needed to provision or update systems, or to manage data and schedule workloads across diverse platforms.
- Integrate IT operations: Knowing what you have, what it does, how hard it works, and how well it’s performing gives you an extremely solid foundation for operational excellence and the ability to avoid unnecessary expenditure. It may be one of the less glamorous aspects of being the primary service provider to an organization, but ongoing operational optimization is what keeps the digital enterprise running with costs at a minimum.
- Mitigate risk: You can make the process of staying compliant much easier, faster, and more cost effective by proactively monitoring system configurations and taking automated remedial action to counter threats. The integrity and robustness of the infrastructure and processes you maintain are of profound importance to the continuity of your business. Your approach to compliance and risk mitigation needs to be holistic and continuous.
Ensuring a successful transformation
In building your digital transformation roadmap, pick projects that will have a disproportionately high impact and address multiple key requirements within each initiative. This will also drive a correspondingly higher ROI and make the very best use of constrained resources.