Creating digital advantage
There are no shortcuts to digital transformation. There are, however, ways to fast track early successes.
For organisations that really want to make a success out of their digital transformation, there is a limit to how much you can compress timelines.
You need results now, but maybe consultation has given you a 1-3 year estimate for the project. That can seem like a lifetime away.
The upside is that digital transformation is a continuous ‘build-measure-learn’ process. It’s never a ‘one-and-done’ undertaking that, one day, will suddenly deliver ongoing digital success. And because of this, it’s possible to secure early wins in your journey that will pay dividends throughout the rest of the process.
But if you want to fast track those quick wins, you’ll need to do a bit of preparation, assessing your current position and planning out where you want to be. Here’s where to start.
Look for fast value
It’s important to get your priorities straight if you want to see faster return on investment. To identify these, ask yourself:
- What is most valuable to my organisation?
- Where are our areas of concern?
- Where do we want to make changes and transform?
- Where do we have the best chances for return on investment? (Note that you don’t need absolute amounts here. Performing even a simple sizing exercise will help you realise where the best places are to invest, as well as how much effort will have to be put into each activity.)
Now you should have your priorities – and your best chances at quick wins.
From this point, you’ll have a better view into the improvements that you can start making, more or less, immediately. This might include how you track and evaluate leads, how you engage with customers (and through which channels), how you manage cyber issues, and how you host and pay for applications.
Once that’s clear, you’ll find that you have discovered the areas within your business that will deliver the most value up-front. It should be much easier, at this point, to prioritise future digital transformation work and get quick wins under your belt.
Don’t forget your dependencies
Once you’ve discovered where the greatest ROI resides, you might think the next logical step is to get to work. However, before you do that, you’ll need to understand the complex web of interdependent processes and systems that make up your business.
A priority action at the top of your list will often rely on another action taking place. Perhaps it might even need a new system to be put in place. This task may be more complex, or may offer a smaller initial return, but without it you won’t be able to push forward with your priority task.
You might, for example, want to introduce a new automation tool to help you deliver more personalised customer experiences, but this will have knock-on effects on the rest of your digital ecosystem. How will it impact and interact with things like your content management system, or your customer relationship management system?
In systems as complex as the modern workplace, changes have a powerful ripple effect. Be sure you understand where dependencies exist before rushing forward.
It’s time to act
Of course, putting a plan in place doesn’t have to mean you’re stuck working to rigid timelines towards a delivery date. A more constructive way of thinking about your plan is as a map, marking out areas to tackle.
Now that you’ve prioritised tasks based on need, such as cost vs. benefit, and grouped them by interdependencies, you should have a clear picture of what needs to be delivered, and when. You’ll know what tools and processes you’ll need to get to the next stage. Equally important, you’ll know which teams will have to be involved.
Digital transformation has a huge cultural component that can’t be ignored. As you move through your digital transformation journey, you’ll need to foster a culture of continuous transformation. This means helping teams across the business understand the ‘build-measure-learn’ process and aligning them under the overarching strategy.
Once your priorities are straight and your teams are aligned, the only thing left is to act. Focus on getting those quick wins in and use these successes to encourage your teams and stakeholders.
Keep it moving
As we’ve all become acutely aware of in 2020/21, agility is key to growth. As you work through your digital transformation priorities, you should evaluate your situation and environment, identifying where you might be deviating from the original plan.
But deviating is no bad thing. At every stage of the project, you should measure, learn, and adapt. Approach digital transformation iteratively, with an agile mindset, and you’ll find quicker, longer-lasting success.
Fast-tracking the entire process may not be possible, but achieving (and celebrating) early wins will really provide the boost you need, straight out of the gate.
Choosing to outsource IT to a Managed Services Provider (MSP) like Assembly
Many organisations hesitate or resist change because they don’t know what outsourcing will look like for their business. There’s also a reluctance to move away from the traditional in-house IT model and a sense of loyalty to existing teams.
But transitioning to Managed Services can bring quick but long-lasting wins for companies of every kind, and their internal IT team.
Win #1: More time to innovate
Increasingly, companies want and need to be able to offer a mobile working experience to staff. This puts pressure on internal IT teams to set up users across multiple devices and deal with associated security issues. Lots of IT teams are flooded with support requests of a BAU (business as usual) nature, when their time could be used better. Moving to Managed Services can solve this problem; we can complete mundane and repetitive tasks and your skilled internal IT team can focus on innovating instead of BAU activity. This gives your team better job satisfaction and makes them a real valuable resource to your business.
Another thing to consider, is that usually your internal IT team has been chosen for a specific skill set. Outsourcing gives you access to a wider team which can cover all areas of IT expertise. Plus, an MSP has experience working with other companies which has created a list of ‘lessons learnt’ and lets them provide better service to you. What does all this mean? Your internal IT resource can focus their skills and time on critical systems within the company to provide a better service to your customers and clients.
Win #2: A more secure IT environment
Data hacks and leaks are big news and securing your network has never been more important, particularly in the age of GDPR. Failing to comply with GDPR can lead to serious fines which are damaging financially and in terms of reputation. Protecting customer data also creates greater trust between companies and customers.
With the leading technology companies proposing different secure solutions, choosing the ‘best’ one can be problematic. Using Managed Services for your IT security takes away this burden. The security of your IT environment is their number one priority. Pressure on internal teams is removed, so the resource can be used in more profitable ways and you can relax knowing endpoints, infrastructure and identity are being monitored 24/7/365.
Could your organisation recover from a security breach without any damaging consequences? If the answer is no, then why take the risk.
Win #3: Cost-savings, better budgeting
One of the major wins of outsourcing, particularly for CFOs and budget holders, is cost-savings.
MSP technology-as-a-service offerings are usually priced per user, server or device per month. This is great for IT budget holders who can accurately predict the spend for the year, without any hidden costs. This pricing model is particularly beneficial because it is flexible and can easily adapt to changes in headcount.
Your internal resource is still important though, as they can work with the MSP to ensure that wider business goals are being achieved while using their specific expert skills to innovate their IT estates.
The final word
IT outsourcing looks different for every company, and you don’t have to outsource everything. Thinking of it as a kind of IT ‘pick and mix’ can help you breakdown which areas you’d benefit from outsourcing, and which you could comfortably keep in-house. If there is an area of IT which is taking up most of your internal team’s time, without benefiting the business short of enabling BAU activity, why not consider outsourcing that specific requirement?
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