Technology is obviously the driving force and enabler behind digital transformation. The last decade has witnessed incredible advancements in mobile technology, significant advancements in programming and application development, as well as a substantial increase in the adoption of digital technology, by both customers and employees. It’s obviously a phenomenon that is not merely going to disappear.
One of the main hindrances to organisations adopting digital transformation is their inability, or reluctance, to get rid of legacy systems and replace outdated processes. If these are not addressed then digital transformation is simply not going to be achievable. Research from Forrester suggests that businesses only spend 28 percent of their budget on new innovation and projects in comparison to the 72 percent spent on managing existing IT systems. Not exactly a progressive strategy for digital transformation.
Organisations need to have the technology and processes in place to be able to change and react quickly and easily. This scalability will provide forward thinking organisations with the infrastructure and capability to deliver a better service, explore new opportunities and survive in a digital world.
Building systems to suit you
The technology is very accessible these days, and can be extremely easy to deploy. Whereas businesses used to have to adapt business strategies to fit technology systems, many have realised that this shouldn’t be the case and are exploiting the wealth of applications and SaaS products that have become available to address particular aspects of the business.
With Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and rapid application development (RAD) solutions readily available, businesses now have the ability to even build their own applications from scratch.
The refreshing thing about these new applications is their ability to exploit application program interfaces (APIs) – a secret weapon for embracing true digital transformation.
APIs have opened up software technology in an unprecedented way. They now provide organisations with the ability to integrate a wide variety of best of breed technologies together to create an ecosystem that is fast, flexible and can handle incredibly large volumes of data fast.
Sales orders, documents and any type of data can be easily transferred from one system to another quickly and easily. With dedicated business process automation software, it is also possible to remove much of the manual processing that businesses rely on by automating the transfer of this data. This can help organisations streamline business processes and free up staff and departments to concentrate on more proactive and lucrative tasks.
Exploiting digital technology
Integration and automation provides companies with the agility to further explore and adopt digital transformation, and removes the digital silos that are often found in many organisations. Sharing real-time information around the company is paramount for success.
Analytical data can be used to shape marketing activities, explore new opportunities and understand how customers use and think about products or services. It will improve collaboration between departments, enable innovation to flourish and ultimately provide customers with a better service and experience.
Technology is also central to user experience, whether this is from the viewpoint of the customer or an employee. Digital technology has been adopted by the majority of people and they now expect this to be reflected in the workplace or with the companies that they interact with.
Customers expect faultless online services, mobile applications, and simple payment systems. Employees require intuitive business systems, the ability to work remotely and relevant information at their fingertips.
Business owners and IT teams need to understand what the users of the applications need, whether internal or external, and how they use them. It isn’t a case of simply providing access these days. They need to provide the functionality and flexibility that they have become used to with digital technology.
Digital transformation isn’t just about technology though. It’s about bringing the power and adaptability of technology together with a cultural shift in the way organisations are run. Only then will they be able to truly explore the benefits of digital transformation.