By Joe Garber, vice president, strategy and solutions, Micro Focus
The World Economic Forum predicts that 60% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022. This number can make some business leaders feel anxious — especially those whose systems and processes don’t readily allow for the rapid growth, enhanced customer experience, or timely evolution of business models. They need digital transformation, but transformation can be risky.
Organizations can’t put their business on hold while they undergo a massive transformation project to meet today’s digital realities. They have to run and transform at the same time. They need to be in it for now and for the future. But what does that really mean?
Evolve while keeping operations running
It means leaders must “keep the lights on” today — even during extraordinary situations like a pandemic or while they make plans to transform. The technical investments that have served them so far need to continue to perform, and even evolve, so they can run the business and compete while they work to move forward. They’re asking questions like:
- How do I prepare for additional online traffic and added network stress?
- How do I get information out quickly to remote workers and protect their data?
- How can I make sure employees, partners, and vendors can access the data and systems they need?
It also means they need to prepare for what’s next and set the groundwork to digitally transform, which leads to a different set of forward-looking questions like:
- What new technologies are out there that will have an impact on how we do business? How much value will they bring?
- What new experiences are customers demanding, and how should we provide them?
- Are there better business processes out there that will improve our bottom line?
Organizations use these answers as guideposts as they work through today’s economic and technological realities and plan for their future. Commerce and communications are moving online. Workers are moving from offices to remote locations. Data security and access have to evolve constantly to stay ahead of bad actors. It’s a delicate balance to get right. So how do leaders set up their organizations to meet all those needs?
Don’t start from scratch — build upon your existing infrastructure
When the idea of digital transformation first arose, conventional wisdom was to employ a rip-and-replace strategy. And for some organizations that approach can pay off in a big way. But it comes with risks that can be hard to overcome, and for many organizations, the results weren’t great — only around 30% succeeded. When today’s researchers discuss digital transformation, they factor in the inherent risk of rip-and-replace strategies and the inherent value of the previous IT investments that generated the intellectual property (IP) on which the business thrives. Many businesses choose to preserve that IP by employing “smart” digital transformation — bridging the existing and emerging to achieve a prosperous digital future.
Once an organization agrees on the “how” of digital transformation, the next logical question to answer is the “what.” What do I need to solve for and where do I start? Chief information officers typically outline four key objectives — or outcomes — for which they need to optimize as they digitally transform:
- Accelerate application delivery: Emerging technologies help deliver high-quality software quickly by reducing operational friction using automation and enhanced collaboration. DevOps squarely puts the focus on quality and speed, using assessments and course corrections on core business processes to deliver better outcomes.
- Simplify IT transformation: Mixed infrastructures (cloud, on-premises, etc.) bring high levels of complexity. Hybrid IT software supports this reality by bridging IT services from mainframe to mobile, corporate to cloud. The benefits include accelerated delivery and increased efficiency, creativity, and innovation — all essential to staying ahead today.
- Adapt with intelligent cybersecurity: High-value assets — identities, applications, and data — must be protected, especially during a time of transformation because the stakes are immense — breach costs, fines, brand impact, and even shareholder value can be affected. Security should be at the center of transformation. Leveraging advanced analytics to achieve scale, identify unexpected risks, and proactively take action is fast becoming a critical element of this strategy.
- Analyze in time to act: Corporate data lakes are growing exponentially through customer interactions, IoT sensors, and more. It’s a problem if it can’t be analyzed in ways that benefit everyone. Predictive analytics help identify unmet customer needs, underfunded parts of the business, emerging business models, and more. In addition, analysis helps you identify what needs the most protection and processes that can be expedited so you can achieve scale.
These four core concepts act as cornerstones of digital transformation. By bridging the existing and the emerging technologies in these areas, IT professionals can leverage previous investments and current processes, lower their risk for disruptions, and achieve a faster return on investment.
The end result is that organizations can address both today’s needs and tomorrow’s emerging requirements at the same time. Companies have the potential to secure a remote workforce, double online traffic, integrate new technologies, and deliver personalized customer experiences. This is smart digital transformation, a concept that is rapidly coming of age in a time when organizations have to adapt to a rapidly evolving IT landscape.
Powering digital transformation
Micro Focus helps organizations run and transform their business. Driven by customer-centric innovation, our software provides the critical tools they need to accelerate, simplify, secure, and analyze the enterprise. These tools are designed to bridge the gap between existing and emerging technologies, enabling faster innovation, with less risk, in the race to digital transformation.