Will tech experts make digital transformation their calling card?

It is hard to find an aspect of an organisation that has been untouched by digital change. Technology is a powerful disruptor and digital transformation is fast becoming the new buzzword in the business lexicon.

But despite its growing popularity, there is an elephant in the room. Few seem able to define digital transformation succinctly. But without a clear picture, organisations cannot prepare for and instigate the change that will see them steal a march on competitors and ride the new digital wave.

Let’s look at some sobering statistics. A recent Harvard Business Review study surveyed 436 business leaders who reported a lack of knowledge and skills required to execute a digital strategy. Only 23% said they felt they had the skills and technology knowledge required for digital business.

Forrester reports a similar story, saying a mere 21% of executives believe they have the right people in place to define their digital strategy, and even fewer believe they have the right people to execute it.

> See also: Digital transformation: Three top questions answered

It seems few businesses feel they are prepared for the digital changes that are coming, not least because change is constant. The Internet of Things, cloud infrastructure, wearables, bring-your-own-device policies, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS – the list of challenges businesses must keep up with goes on and on.

But the organisations who grasp and embrace digital transformation will be the ones to survive so finding a way to understand and execute on it is paramount.

There is a prime opportunity for technology experts to drive business goals rather than the other way around. Tech leaders have a chance to educate and encourage business leaders to embrace the full implications of digital transformation – which encompasses the makeover of an entire organisation to become more agile and deliver compelling customer experiences.

Although this includes customer facing apps and websites, that is only the beginning. It is a top to bottom rethink of what it means to operate in a digital world, requiring changes to the way an organisation operates inside and out.

What does this mean? It means leveraging technology to truly personalise web experiences across whatever screen is being used. For IT, it means modernising existing apps and directing the course new business applications will take. It also necessitates that mobility and compelling web experiences for users across all channels take centre stage.

> See also: How to move beyond digital transformation

The advantage for tech experts in driving this change is that it requires they embrace uncertainty, rather than fight it – a role they are entirely used to. The IT realm doesn’t have the stability of other industries and requires a need to constantly learn and adapt in an ever-moving environment.

From a business leader’s perspective, it’s easy for an organisation to overlook the need for change but the research is clear. In his book, ‘Defining Digital Transformation’, noted analyst Ray Wang has stated that digital disruption will replace four of the top ten incumbents in industries like financial services, hospitality and travel. Forrester tells us that IT teams who focus solely on executing today’s digital marketing plans miss the potential for broader transformation.

Change is constant – there’s no getting away from that in the tech world. The businesses that thrive will be those that embrace this and are prepared to transform themselves into the agile and mobile organisation that can serve today’s customers.

There is a tremendous opportunity in the enterprise world to be among the first to ride this wave of digital transformation. Is your organisation ready to stand up and be counted?

Sourced from Mark Armstrong, Vice President and Managing Director EMEA, Progress 

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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