Fresh Thinking on Digital Transformation for Flexible Working

Liam O'Sullivan, January 19, 2022

As the pandemic lingers it’s time to recalibrate our thinking on 2022 priorities that go beyond just survival and promote growth and productivity, whatever is thrown our way.

According to Gartner, business leaders want three things: growth, digitalisation and efficiency1. The challenge for IT is to provide a trusted digital ecosystem to connect everyone anywhere that enables creativity, collaboration and innovation to support growth. As we enter another year of uncertainty and disruption, what should be top of mind for those organisations determined to rise above the noise and thrive in the face of uncertainty?

Embrace Change

There's many predictions for the Future of Work, which define various approaches “capable of supporting the ebb and flow of change, as the world learns to navigate new challenges,” and urge organisations to be prepared and capitalise on opportunities, despite whatever disruptions come along.2 Change is an opportunity and a chance for new development. When managed right, change can help pave the way for organisations to make adaptions that ensure they thrive.

Keep it digital, keep it easy

Regardless of KISS, the importance of moving away from outdated ways of working and quick fixes is now widely recognised with digital transformation initially accelerated through the pandemic to keep the lights on and to enable adaption to more flexible, secure, future-proofed business models. The Boston Consulting Group sees the enduring importance of digital transformation as volatility continues, requiring remote or hybrid-first work models, redefinition of work processes, and wider engagement of diverse talent pools.3 ‘KIDS’ can be made simpler too, to optimise returns for any size of business, embrace remote and hybrid working, and enjoy immediate impacts with options to scale up over time.

As Neil Maude, Director of Digital Services for Xerox comments, “The BCG message is written for large enterprise but is equally applicable for small to medium-sized enterprises in terms of being strategy-led, ensuring management commitment, involving the right people, and ensuring ongoing measurement. Remaining agile is also important as the journey can't be fully planned in advance and organisations must adapt.”

“For businesses more concerned with a fast, demonstrable return to gain traction, a focus on smaller discrete software application investments may be a priority. With regard to scalability, that may depend on the SMB and their goals. For example, if your objective is to grow 20% in 5 years and get bought by a competitor, don't over-pay for a scalable solution that you won't need in that timeframe,” Neil advises.

Start with a plan

Gartner advises; “Establish holistic mapping and prioritisation of collective initiatives,  rather than islands of task automation, to ensure synergistic and coordinated business outcomes.” and puts IT firmly in the driving seat along with fusion teams to execute effectively. “As an IT leader, the responsibility for supporting the technical end of digital business rests squarely on your shoulders. You have an opportunity to embrace force-multiplying innovations to accelerate growth and strategically drive your organisation forward.” Gartner predict that this approach will deliver, secure, trusted digital collaboration and access to underpin working from anywhere, solutions to rapidly scale digital creativity anywhere, and innovative capabilities to accelerate business growth.1 They also provide a roadmap for digital transformation that incorporates key stages: ambition, design, deliver, scale, and refine.4

The Boston Consulting Group identifies that most successful digital transformations are planned, starting with a clear idea of the critical issues you’re trying to solve. Maintaining business as usual through the pandemic provides an obvious starting point.6

BCG has found 6 success factors foundations for effective digital transformation projects to help guide success, which are more important than money spent when addressed comprehensively: Vision or Purpose, Business Strategy, Focused Priorities, Tech and Data, Leadership and A Roadmap.

Ensuring growth

The BCG research suggests that using these key success factors as a guide can help any organisation to succeed, regardless of size or budget. This investment in focus is not just about creating a short term response to challenging working conditions, but also underpins long term success. “On average, companies that addressed the six success factors reported a 21% EBIT increase in the businesses within the scope of the transformation compared with only a 10% increase on average for those companies that did not.”6

There’s plenty of inspiration out there for the curious, when better than now to re-energise your digital transformation journey with ITEC at the start of another pandemic-addled year.

 

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