Through the pandemic, the agility and speed with which many organisations ramped up or initiated their cloud-driven digital transformation initiatives, is truly commendable. A true demonstration of the power of intent in a “needs must” situation.
These initiatives greatly benefited organisations, and it’s key that firms continue to build on that momentum. Digital transformation is much more than cloud adoption, a one-off initiative, or a milestone. By its very nature, transformation is dynamic, and so to reap the full benefit of such an investment, organisations must continuously move forward in their endeavour.
What to consider about Digital Transformation
Digital transformation isn’t always about additional financial investment. Here are some areas to consider:
• Take stock.
This is a perfect time to take stock. Now that you are in the cloud, determine the outcomes the business needs to achieve, against the backdrop of where the bottlenecks occur, the challenges and risks the organisation faces and so forth. This will enable you to focus efforts in areas that will deliver the most benefit.
• Do business processes and data workflows work efficiently?
With all your key business applications in the cloud, do your business processes and data workflows integrate? For example, are employees processing the same data multiple times and in different applications? If so, not only is this situation a drain on employees’ productivity, but it is also potentially risk ridden. An individual developing a new business proposal calculated the fees as £700,000 as opposed to £400,000. The error occurred because the employee needed to transpose figures from one system via a spreadsheet into another application. Had the organisation not spotted the error in time, it could have costed the company in lost business.
• Is data management in sync with security and compliance commitments?
Data spread across multiple systems is a security and compliance hazard. Are your data management procedures proportionate to security and compliance requirements? For instance, is there an enforced records management policy? It will ensure that data is monitored, controlled, audited, and deleted in accordance with the organisation’s retention policies so that compliance with the numerous jurisdiction-specific data protection and international data transfer legislations is automated to a considerable extent.
Furthermore, robust records management and retention policies are a major security safeguard because they limit the loss of confidential and sensitive data in the unfortunate event of a cyber-attack. Similarly, it is worth revisiting data security configurations within the business applications themselves, such as the document management system, which is often the central hub where sensitive and confidential matter-related data is stored.
• Is collaboration well supported?
The conversation and rationale for in-person presence at work has now moved on from “people are more focused in the office” to the “value of informal collaboration” for knowledge sharing, productivity gains, efficiency and even strengthening relationships and camaraderie. So, establishing the optimal hybrid working scenario that works for your business is important. Determine how employees collaborate internally and externally, what client expectations are for in-person interactions, situations where collaboration is hindered, does security support collaborative working, what tools are needed to support teamwork, and so on.
• Is the organisation nurturing talent?
In today’s work-from-anywhere organisations, keeping employees intellectually stimulated, engaged, and motivated is more important than ever. Recruitment is expensive when you add up the agency fees, and time spent on the selection process – not to mention the hidden cost of lost productivity, impact of increased workload on other employees and the time it takes to get new joiners up to speed in their roles. The total cost of recruitment can be anywhere between six to nine months to almost double the salary of the new employee, depending on the individual’s role and seniority.
Nurturing talent and supporting their growth must be always a key organisational tenet – not just during times of economic uncertainty or talent shortage in the industry. Chart out employees’ career path, support their development through training and ensure their overall well-being, as part of your organisation’s digital transformation initiative. Such an exercise will also help identify the new skills you need to bring on as the organisation transforms the way it operates.
It is believed that only about 30 percent of organisations successfully continue their digital transformation journey. Given the level of effort and financial investment such initiatives need, it’s almost wasteful to allow the programme’s momentum to stall. Continuous improvement doesn’t always require an additional budget or deployment of new technologies. Augmenting and optimising the use of existing technologies so that transformation is embedded and sustained in the organisation is perhaps more important. When it comes to taking the next big leap in your transformation journey, you will have a solid foundation to support the achievement of the new milestone.