The disruption that has occurred over the past couple of years has led to a rapid acceleration of digital transformation, with organisations of all sizes and scales rapidly evolving their IT environments. According to McKinsey, digital transformation and cloud migration was accelerated by as much as seven years within some businesses.
Now, having undergone digital transformation and cloud migration, enterprises are wondering what’s next, and what can be achieved with these new computing environments. At NovaWorks, we have been consulting closely with our customers to ensure that not only are they getting the most from their environments now, but that they are well placed for ongoing innovation moving forwards.
One thing that IT leaders need to watch out for is that following the digital transformation and cloud migration efforts, the business retains its forward momentum. Here, monitoring and measuring employee utilisation of digitised processes is important, because this can lead to further improvements, and avoid a regression to the “old ways” of doing things.
For example, if 80 per cent of staff are on board with the transformation but 20 per cent are going back to the original process, it’s a good indication to look at what can be done to change the behaviour or make improvements that will encourage laggards to adopt new behaviours.
Another thing that’s important to drive through the ongoing digital transformation and cloud migration strategy is ongoing audits of the data environment. One of the greatest causes of inefficiency within any organisation is the replication of data, and that usually comes from the business leaders being unaware of just what assets the enterprise has. For example, a company that we’re working with needed footage for a promotional video that involved a helicopter flyover Sydney Harbour. They went to the expense of shooting that footage at a significant cost, not realising they already had that footage available to them – because the digital assets could not be located.
Having a proper inventory of assets and data, and an understanding of what is available across the organisation, is therefore a key outcome for any digital transformation and cloud migration strategy, precisely because it will result in a more efficient operation.
A digital transformation and cloud migration initiative should not be considered “finished” after the initial project. It should always be about continuous improvement, monitoring and management.
For one NovaWorks customer example that fits with what we consider best practice: we’re currently working on an ongoing project that has been broken down into four “phases” of rollout over the course of five years.
If that customer had have aimed to jump straight to phase 4 – the end-goal, as such – they wouldn’t have started delivering on the benefits of digital transformation and cloud migration until year five. It takes a while to build up the knowledge, data and expertise in-house to support something like that. In that time, the business would not have seen meaningful benefits from the transformation, and it would likely have been scrapped for its inability to deliver results after years one or two.
Meanwhile, by taking the iterative approach, we’ve been able to deliver immediate gains by breaking the project down and starting with a “phase 1” that is more modest in scope and intention. This target might only result in a 50 per cent improvement, or only 50 per cent of the end goal having been achieved, but those are measurable results delivered immediately, and then further gains can be achieved with phase 2.
What is important is being able to show immediate gains. One of the principle reasons that the odds of success of digital transformation and cloud migration are low at around 30 per cent (according to research by BCG), despite the pressing need to do so, is the difficulty with getting key stakeholder support across the whole of business. Unless the CIO can get the organisation aligned behind a single IT vision, then it is liable to fail, and that’s why being able to deliver immediate benefits with a clear pathway to full transformation is so important.
As the digital transformation and cloud migration project continues on, additional opportunities for innovation will emerge. IoT integrations, edge deployments, AI and new customer experiences are all unlocked as the foundation of the business is digitally transformed. But here, too, it would be impossible to accelerate from 0 to 100 instantly. These advanced, revenue or efficiency-generating applications need to be added on to the roadmap for consideration and key transformation milestones, at which point the environment will be ready to accommodate them.
How digital transformation and cloud migration can go wrong
We were recently brought in to review a digital transformation and cloud migration project for a client that had adopted the “big bang” approach, and it wasn’t working the way they intended.
This organisation’s IT function hadn’t involved key stakeholders, including the parts of the business that were going to be using the transformed environment daily. The organisation had made the mistake of thinking that the IT function was the end consumer of the transformation project.
So even though the tech implementation and delivery was properly functional, the digital transformation and cloud migration project was not delivering value because the consumer of the IT environment – the key lines of business – were not using it. It’s critical that the people who will be using the technology are engaged in the transformation project.
With technologies such as Office 365 or SharePoint, the success of the implementation is measured by active users as the key metric. That is the statistic that you want to monitor and manage. This is what we look for ourselves at NovaWorks as the indication of a successful implementation.
Transformation and change management
At NovaWorks, our focus is not just on digital transformation and cloud management from a technology perspective. We also have the insights and proven processes to deliver on change management, engaging stakeholders across the company, and ensuring the success of a transformation is driven by the user experience. In doing so, not only do we deliver rapid results as a company starts on its digital transformation and cloud management strategy, but that the business is prepared to continue to drive innovation into the future.
For expert advice on your next transformation project, contact us.