Is Covid-19 accelerating your digital transformation strategy?

Digital transformation has long been on the agenda for businesses with varying degrees of success. A 2019 report noted that 85% of enterprise decision makers believe that they must make “serious progress” on digitally transforming their businesses in the next two years to avoid falling behind the competition and negatively affecting their bottom line[1].

It is clear to see why digital transformation appeals; the opportunity to use technology to streamline your business operations, increase efficiency, reduce costs and ultimately, widen profit margins, is something that all businesses want.

Despite the obvious benefits, Mckinsey management consultants estimate that 70% of large-scale change projects fail to reach their desired outcomes and goals[2]. So why are so many digital transformation projects failing?

One common problem is a lack of clarity regarding what we really mean by digital transformation and how to achieve it. Digital transformation is not digital for digital’s sake; it concerns harnessing technologies to transform business processes and improve business outcomes. A good starting point is a review of existing processes across all departments to identify efficiency savings through automation and new workflow/process. Without this, businesses lack a clearly defined strategy, will find it difficult to engage employees in the process and fail at the first hurdle. A coherent strategy is needed to make strategic decisions and measure outcomes effectively.

Digital transformation is often led by IT departments but organisations should engage all business units from the beginning; auditing systems and processes in place company-wide. It is common to find that businesses have multiple disparate systems in place. These systems have often been in place for many years and no longer service the current and future needs of the business; they are retained solely because they contain business critical data that may be difficult and costly to migrate elsewhere. We often speak to decision makers who worry about the operational disruption involved in migrating data. Whilst it may seem less risky to simply ‘bolt on’ new systems around legacy core technology rather than begin large scale change, this approach often leaves data in separate silos, offering little change to overall business operations. Departments are left to access essential data through laborious manual processes and old problems and inefficiencies persist.

A second problem that we see is cultural resistance to change. This can stem from fear of the unknown as staff prefer to continue working in their comfort zone with systems and processes that they are familiar with, some may even be worried that they do not possess the required digital skills to adapt to new technologies. Best practice to combat this issue is engaging stakeholders early in the process – we have already noted that department decision makers need to be involved in the strategic process rather than the project being solely led by IT. This is crucial to gain employee buy-in which you will need to succeed – Mckinsey’s research cites lack of engagement as a primary source of projects failing. 

If organisations do not tackle these issues, projects are usually shelved before they add any business value. Pre-Covid-19, organisations would leave projects on ‘pause’ as they focus on other core business but attitudes are changing. As a result of the global pandemic, businesses across the globe have seen an almost overnight shift in their businesses. Many sectors have been severely impacted by reduced demand, with some seeing traditional revenue streams dry up overnight and the need to find alternative sources of income to stay afloat.

This has been impacted further by a rapid shift to remote working which many businesses were not prepared for, or those with flexible working policies in place, were not prepared for their entire global workforce working remotely.

These challenges mean that the argument for digital transformation has never been stronger. Businesses must forensically examine their processes and operations and adopt flexible, agile technology platforms in order to streamline workflows, increase efficiencies, increase margins and positively impact the bottom line. Through investing in scalable technology, businesses can transform their core operations to reduce waste, automate routine processes and more complex processes through customisable platforms.  

THESIS is an enterprise grade ECM platform which brings all critical business data into a single view through a centralised storage repository, connecting disparate business systems through API integrations. The platform offers business process automation including a ‘Workflow Designer’ module which allows more complex business processes to be automated through customised workflows.

THESIS is developed by Haulmont Technology, using its CUBA Platform – a Java-based enterprise level framework which is currently used in over 170 countries. The flexible and scalable design of the framework means that organisations can rapidly develop their instance of the platform in any direction. Organisations are no longer held back by the limitations of their technology as they can develop their own business-specific customisations which are maintained through new system updates to ensure that the platform never becomes redundant or outdated. Additionally, the platform uses open code which gives businesses the freedom to use their own in-house IT specialists, rather than being tied into the vendor.  

It is evident that Covid-19 is changing the way businesses work and driving the need to change. Now is the time to invest in your digital transformation strategy to ensure your business is in the best possible position to not only survive but thrive in these challenging times. For an informal talk about your business strategy and how THESIS could help your organisation, get in touch with us today.