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3 Key Lessons from Accelerated Digital Adoption in the Past Year
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By Amos Ferrari , Yara-Yasemin Schuetz
About 500 years ago, the Italian Renaissance polymath Leonardo Da Vinci famously said “Nothing can be loved or hated if it is not first known” – and now we know!
It is commonly accepted that the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns have accelerated the pace of digital transformation, by necessity for most enterprises. In the beginning of the first lockdown, “…we’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months,” as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put it.
According to a global survey of executives¹ conducted by McKinsey, companies accelerated the implementation of remote working and collaboration capabilities by as much as a factor of 43 compared to estimates without the crisis. Similarly, the adoption of digital technologies for advancements in operations and business decision-making has been expedited by a factor of 25 times more than expected.
In this substantial upsurge of digitalization in enterprises, the entire IT organization has been instrumental in ensuring business resiliency and continuity by accelerating the execution of digital initiatives, such as remote collaboration, in a matter of weeks.
The enforced “digital honeymoon”
Sustaining the momentum – or extending the digital honeymoon of business and IT – becomes essential for IT leaders beyond the pandemic to eschew the so-called analysis paralysis and become practical. When an individual or an organization overthinks a situation or is presented with a magnitude of opportunities, they tend to become paralyzed in the face of deciding. This often results in the circumstance that no course of action is decided upon, creating costly delays or stalling.
As we start to exit Covid restrictions, you might have the options of dining out or have friends come over for dinner again, or you could do both over subsequent weekends with little true impact on those involved. But in a business scenario, choosing one opportunity and putting another into the queue for next year might come at greater risk and cost.
The rapid, vital moves to digitalization, driven by urgency and instinct in the recent past, have also brought progressive awareness, knowledge, and adoption related to digital transformation. This led us to better understand how to accelerate future digital initiatives and thrive on the momentum of digital transformation as we move forward. Out of our “Digital Advisor” interactions with enterprises there are three key lessons we can share:
Lesson 1: Embrace an “accelerate” mindset with a strategic architecture
In order to accelerate the execution of digital initiatives it is paramount for IT teams to embrace and encompass an “accelerate” mindset into truly holistic thinking. We have learned that the value of using a strategic architecture supports the prompting and even anticipation of new business opportunities. Do not wait for the business to express complete requirements, do not wait for the next disruption to startle your company, but continue (or start) to architect and frame your organization’s digital transformation, strategically.
Lesson 2: Provide guardrails around your transformation
We’ve probably all been driving in hairy situations, where we were glad about the guardrails left and right, keeping us from going off the road. We learned that with digital transformation it is quite similar; the strategic architecture not only helps to maintain a comprehensive view, but it also needs to have key technology and key business transformation principles embedded. These transformation principles provide a particular direction for the organization and serve as an agreed enterprise digital transformation foundation.
A digital enterprise of the future is edge-centric, cloud-enabled, and data-driven. Key technology transformation principles like these allow you to identify and inform changes needed in underlying operating model elements such as processes, systems, and information flows. They serve as a continuous and holistic strategic-change function – one that accelerates digital.
A digital enterprise of the future weaves resiliency, sustainability, and “As a Service” thinking into the core of its transformation. These key business transformation principles address fast pace, uncertainty, and complexity, and boost the execution of the shift toward digital. They serve as a constant and agile power, simultaneously –one that stimulates focus and direction.
Lesson 3: Create a scoped, focused MVP narrative
“Agile” today is perceived as THE new buzzword when the business’ dominant thought is to continue, recover, and prepare for the future. The notion of “agile” has spread from its early origins in the Agile Manifesto 20 years ago into all parts and types of an organization, and is nothing new per se. However, we learned that creating a meaningful narrative over a scoped, focused MVP is an incredibly powerful instrument to advance alignment, prioritization, and communication.
Applying the lessons
In the next blog, Amos and I will introduce how we and our colleagues merge these three key lessons into a comprehensive strategic approach: the “Accelerate Moment.” The Accelerate Moment presents a powerful methodology and structure for getting from an initial digital idea to benefit realization, faster.
If you ask, “What is different now from digitalization prior to COVID-19?” the answer is, “…we know it, and we have started loving it, and we share it!” We are all digital adopters – now it’s time to fall in love deeply.
Amos Ferrari is an experienced digital advisor for digital business transformations. He is an evangelist for the role that digital plays in creating new opportunities for business and people. Amos advises customers worldwide on how to define, communicate, and deliver the intended benefits of new digital initiatives as part of company vision and strategy – blending IT and business digital aspiration for the purpose of digital transformation.
About Yara-Yasemin Schuetz
Yara-Yasemin Schuetz is a Digital Advisor at HPE. She supports organizations in their digital transformation journey, from strategizing to realizing the full value of leveraging digital technologies, in order to advance the way people live and work. Fluent in four languages, she uses those linguistic skills to good use to create a shared language between business outcomes and IT requirements. Her consulting approach to empowering organizations to unlock their full digital ambition embodies having participants step out of their comfort zone for greater collaboration. She holds an MSc in Digital Business Management from the University of Reutlingen, recently led an empirical study on digital strategy patterns.