One of the bright spots for organisations over the last 18 months has been their ability to leverage technology and transform ways of working. Digital Transformation has not only kept the lights on through the disruption and mandatory changes in business process, but additionally enabled enterprises to find competitive advantages and set the business up to accelerate into the future.
According to Marina Boschert, Accenture Managing Director, in an exclusive interview with IDG, digital transformation – and specifically the move to the cloud that has been the foundation of much of that – has offered enterprises several core benefits, including:
- Cost savings: Worldwide IT spending shrunk by 3.2 per cent in 2020, according to Gartner research. For CIOs facing the challenge of building technology solutions to the pandemic while also having their own budgets constrained, cloud computing has been the source of millions of dollars in savings.
- It facilitates remote working: Without cloud computing it would be impractical to work remotely. From access to the network, to collaboration and communication, and enabling security and monitoring, cloud computing has been critical to the work from home response that most organisations provided their people.
- It allows the organisations to work more efficiently: the move to the Cloud has enabled organisations to access real-time data and insights, and adopt a more agile approach to work.
- It has delivered a “talent renaissance”: The shift to cloud-based IT delivery has also meant that organisations have needed to build a suite of new digital skills and practices, which can now be tuned towards forward-thinking applications.
“The cloud gives people across the entire organisation the ability to access on demand applications and data to innovate at scale. Brought together, this is what has driven massive movement into the cloud during the pandemic,” Boschert said.
Capitalising on the opportunity
From a strategic perspective, none of what is happening in businesses now is new. These kinds of wide-scale foundational shifts that change how IT is viewed across the organisation occur in a cyclical manner, and the disruption of the past 18 months has simply been the catalyst for the new wave.
“I’ve been working with these large digital type transformations for over 15 years now, and what I see happening now with cloud is fairly similar to what I had seen at the start of my career, when we saw a lot of the organisations moving into the one ERP system,” Boschert said. “At that stage, we used to see a lot of investments being made on technology, with a slower than expected return in business value.”
Just as with 15 years ago, when things go wrong for organisations, it is a strategic challenge, rather than a technical one, Boschert added. “Research and data showed that in most of the cases, the problem was not the technology,” she said. “It was the people and the ability and willingness of people to make the most of the technology. It’s fairly similar to that now. We’ve done some research, and the numbers are quite alarming: around 65 per cent of organisations that started this transformation journey in 2020 have not yet achieved the full benefit of the cloud transformations.
“When we started looking at what the other 25 per cent that are doing better were doing, the first thing that we noticed is that that those organisations are the ones that are investing as much in their people and talent as they are in the technology.”
Being successful with digital transformations starts with senior leaders coming into alignment about the vision and business case – not just within IT, but across the C-suite.
Additionally, Boschert added, as with any substantial change in technology approach, the success of a transformation exercise hinges on the organisation having the right mix of skills. “Organisations need to invest some budget and efforts in assessing where their current skills sit versus the future skills they’ll need,” Boschert said. “There are a number of amazing tools out there that can be used for talent assessment, which leverage advanced analytics and quantum computing.
“That allows organisations to understand where those skills are lacking, and create learning pathways across different roles, not just in IT, but across the organisation. It is then about investing in developing the future talent at scale, and really linking the cloud strategy to the talent strategy.”
Organisations that are able to do this will not only deliver on the full potential of their digital transformation strategy, but they will have a highly scalable, innovative and differentiated organisation that will be prepared for future competitive opportunities in the years ahead.
For more information on delivering on a digital transformation strategy, click here.
Read previous articles in this series:
Article 1: How SD-WAN is delivering future-proof IT platforms to Australian enterprises
Article 2: How successful integration solutions maximise the value of data
Article 3: The drive towards mainframe modernisation has never been louder