“Having seen how fast companies can transform digitally when the appropriate level of funding and business support is given, the primary consideration ensures IT leaders grasp this huge opportunity and keep up the momentum.” – says Keith Thomas, Associate Director at Coeus Consulting, in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: In this fast-changing business ecosystem, how can organizations accelerate their digital transformation journeys?
Keith Thomas: In our recent CIO and IT Leadership Survey 2021, over half of the organizations surveyed were still in the initial stages of their digital journeys when they had to reprioritize and pause non-urgent initiatives and focus on operational continuity most prioritizing EUC, operational stability, and cost optimization.
Organizations now looking to accelerate their digital journeys must ensure that they fully understand the post-pandemic needs of the business and the specific digital opportunities linked to these needs. These may be the same as pre-2020 or may have radically changed.
There may also be tactical fixes that were put in place during 2020 that now need to be reviewed to ensure that any risk accepted is still appropriate. A clear understanding of the existing and new needs will allow organizations to prioritize effectively and focus available resources on the digital activities that quickly deliver the highest value.
In particular, businesses should be focusing on the priorities of digital acceleration within the cloud, cost optimization, customer channels, and EUC:
- Cloud: Cloud is still a significant focus for IT leaders – we recommend reviewing the flexibility and savings gained over a longer period from implementing cloud solutions.
- Customer Channels: We propose a greater focus on multi-directional and multi-experience
customer-centric business models due to the step-change in consumer behavior and to address future adverse possibilities.
- Cost Optimization: IT leaders that conduct a comprehensive review of their running costs,
know where savings can be made, look beyond organizational boundaries towards partnerships
(to co-innovate and spread financial risk) will be able to balance cost and revenue while accelerating transformational change.
- EUC: Secure remote access solutions have never been more critical in integrating and connecting an entire workforce remotely and working seamlessly. We recommend developing a digital workplace strategy that builds on the tactical solutions deployed to more permanent robust end-user solutions.
ET Bureau: How have IT leaders been prioritizing and accelerating technological programs amid the pandemic for streamlined business operations?
Keith Thomas: As noted, a number of organizations surveyed were already in the midst of their digital transformation and so worked on reviewing existing plans and modifying these to meet the immediate needs. Primarily, these focused on end-user solutions, operational stability, and cost optimization.
Our survey also highlighted that IT leaders have been working closely with their business colleagues to identify and prioritize technology change based on understanding and adapting to the new market realities.
On top of this, 66% of respondents were able to secure additional funding for accelerated initiatives, and 53% stated that they could implement a strategic shift of their entire business operations to digital.
Having seen how fast companies can transform digitally when the appropriate level of funding and business support is given, the primary consideration ensures IT leaders grasp this huge opportunity and keep up the momentum.
ET Bureau: As an IT leader, do you believe accelerating such programs helps increase revenues and improve customer experience?
Keith Thomas: Customer expectations about the ability of organizations to make good use of digital technologies have increased due to the pandemic. A majority of people are now more used to online shopping as well as online delivery of services, with expectations fuelled by experiences from brands such as Apple, Amazon, and Netflix. These expectations are applied to retailers and organizations like local authorities that deliver services rather than products.
Accelerating the pace of digital transformation will help to meet these expectations and protect revenue as well as realize any opportunities to make existing processes more efficient and look at opportunities to evolve existing services and establish new ones.
ET Bureau: What, according to you, should IT leaders focus on to drive the best digital acceleration? How can embedding changes help enterprises continue to adapt to the increased dependency and visibility of IT?
Keith Thomas: IT leaders should focus on establishing excellent relationships with their business colleagues and using these to understand and inform business goals to help manage IT demand. Coupled with a transparent IT architecture and excellent use of 3rd party suppliers, IT leaders can deliver an agile and flexible IT capability that can accelerate digital change based on business value and outcomes.
Embedding the flexibility, speed of delivery, and joint IT/ business working seen in the pandemic response can help to cement a highly positive view of IT and increased partnership working.
Keith is Associate Director at Coeus Consulting – an experienced Enterprise Architect and IT Strategy consultant with 18 years of experience working across the utilities, retail, public sector, healthcare, and media industries. His particular areas of interest include digital engagement of both customers and employees, the humanization of IT, AI, and Service Management. He has published thought leadership articles in these areas and others such as UX development and enjoys sharing thoughts and ideas with senior IT leaders to help discover and shape strategic thinking.