10 Ways to Adapt in the Digital Age


Market and technology forces are pressuring organisations to rethink their IT and business strategies in the digital age. These changes provide ample opportunities for those able to successfully transform as remaining relevant to digital consumers will yield significant value.

Building the Digital IT Function of the future that will support the business in a digital world requires the embarking on a transformational journey. As new and emerging technology trends continue to influence workplace, a successful digital transformation is crucial to ensure your enterprise can keep up in with a digital world.

So, how can you adapt in the Digital Age and ensure a successful journey?

1. Start as you mean to go on

Offering the business rationale for a transformation can be fraught with complexity and difficulty in gaining support from the key stakeholders in the business. If you, however, harness digital technologies available in the marketing place, you can make use of big data to help generate meaningful and powerful strategies and business cases that will offer compelling justification to undertake the transformation you need in an agile fashion.

2. Look at the horizon, but build in quick-wins

Transforming an IT function is typically a multi-year project. With ever-changing customer preferences and expectations, organisations cannot wait months, let alone years for its IT function to change. Marrying long-term visions with short-term quick wins throughout the may be difficult, but it is crucial to the success of the project.

3. Sponsorship

There will be many challenges along the way as you set out into uncharted territory. You will face difficult conversations and curveballs that threaten to blow you off course. A successful transformation requires senior buy-in and engagement so that you know the board has your back despite the challenges that may arise.

4. Benefits realisation and tracking

Many projects fail to meet business expectations because organisations did not set clear objectives and KPIs from the outset. As simple as it may sound, making sure to articulate business benefits, individual objectives and KPIs from the start is the only way of being able to look back at the transformation journey and achieve what you set out to do.

5. Technology is a means not an end

Although an IT Transformation is a good opportunity to refresh your technology portfolio, remember that technology needs to enable overarching business objectives. If you treat technology implementation as an end in itself, you will fail to realise much more important organisational goals.

6. Programme Management with a hint of Agile

Even with the best project managers on board helping you transform, a waterfall approach to the project will always mean that when you hit the final year of the projects, the business may have changed its objectives.

7. Pilots can't build a plane mid-flight

Assuming that your internal IT can manage the transformation is like expecting a pilot and crew to rebuild a plane mid-flight; they won't always have the wherewith to do it. Even if they did, they have the added pressure of their day jobs.

When embarking on a transformational journey, make sure you have properly factored in the time, resources and sheer energy required. Also, ensure that the project team can completely focus on their roles and responsibilities. You cannot afford to lose momentum at any stage of the project due to a lack of resource.

8. Digital Pegs in Digital Holes

Do you have the right skillsets and expertise to know what a successful transformation looks like? Understanding the technology landscape requires expertise in technology. Ensuring that staff are engaged requires a change in management skillsets. Managing large transformation programmes requires seasoned Programme Managers. Reworking governance structures require GRC experts, and delivering upon an overarching vision requires Business Transformation experts.

9. Your staff may want change; they don't necessarily want to change.

A transformation programme could be flawless from a technical, structure or procedural perspective, but if your people are not engaged, the transformation will fail. People are the biggest risk to any project but you can mitigate the risks by:

  • Engaging with your internal stakeholders well in advance of any change to canvas opinion and co-create solutions that will form the basis of the transformation. People are much more receptive to new ideas if they feel they heled shape them.

  • Clearly outlining what transformation entails, its value and rationale to staff. Make the impact of how it benefits teams and individuals clear.

  • Empowering staff with authority and accountability.

  • Incentivising staff in the right way to undertake thorough training on processes and technology. Factor in enough time to train and upskill staff.

  • Never underestimating the culture shock of change. Make sure that your project team has the skills and capabilities to deal with this.

10. Data is your friend

The business will be keen to see progress and realise benefits. From a governance perspective, data will help you demonstrate whether you are achieving the benefits outlined in the business case. With a sound Business Intelligence and Data Analytics strategy, proving success and value to the business becomes much easier.

Today, almost all business processes are either enabled by some form of technology or could benefit from some form of digitisation.

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