Digital technology brings enormous benefits to businesses and their customers and, today, many firms have little option but to digitally transform. However, the journey towards transformation can be a challenging one. Here we take a close look at some of the key challenges businesses face and explain how these can be overcome.
Depending on a company’s starting point, the move to digital transformation can be a major undertaking and this does not come without investment. The biggest costs, by some margin, are for those firms that intend to adopt digital technology in-house. With a shift to a data-driven, digital environment, companies will need significant data storage and processing power to carry out their new workloads. This invariably means heavy capital investment in infrastructure. Businesses will also have to consider the cost of application development, software licencing, staff training and an increase in energy costs.
It is this reason why most businesses adopt cloud technology as part of their transformation. By using a cloud provider’s infrastructure instead of their own, the huge capital investment is replaced by more manageable monthly fees which can be kept in check through on-demand scaling and business-wide access policies. At the same time, this allows companies to deploy free-to-use, open-source, cloud-based applications for artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, big data analytics, the Internet of Things and more. Besides being a far less expensive solution, companies also benefit from a reduction in on-site IT.
If a business adopts advanced new technologies, it will need to recruit people with the expertise to use them effectively and manage its growing IT estate. Not only is this an additional expense; the lack of qualified talent in the jobs market makes it increasingly difficult to fill those vital vacancies. Those who are available can pick and choose the jobs they want and the companies they want to work with. High salaries are the norm while increasingly, younger recruits are putting employer sustainability high on their list of priorities. While it is entirely possible to train existing staff, this too can be costly and the time it takes can be too long when the pace of digital transformation is so swift.
A way to minimise the impact of staffing issues is to opt for a managed cloud solution. With managed cloud, the vendor will take responsibility for many of the tasks that are usually dealt with in-house. For example, updating and patching operating systems, server monitoring and optimisation, infrastructure security, 24/7 support and so forth. Indeed, it is even possible to create bespoke managed cloud solutions that are tailored to the company’s needs. In this way, IT staff working in-house can be left to focus on achieving business aims.
Changing company culture
Digital transformation doesn’t just mean plugging in new technology, it involves a change in approach to how things are done. As any business leader will know, when change is introduced, there are always some within the company that are resistant to it. A common issue, for example, is with how data is used in digitally transformative companies. In order to generate a full overview of the company and the customer journey, data has to be unified from across the business. In companies where siloed departments have their own data and agendas, this can lead to both resistance and conflict.
The solution many businesses turn to is to appoint a leader of digital transformation whose job is to show the benefits of digital technology, explain the changes it will require and, crucially, inspire the workforce to embrace them. This person is also responsible for initiating the adoption of digital technology and its roll-out. It can be a challenging task but putting an experienced person in place means that the company has taken measures to make the transition run smoother.
Finding the right solutions
Finding the right solutions is something that involves all the challenges above and more. You may know you need to adopt digital technology, but there are questions about which are the right ones, how much they will cost and whether you have the talent to deploy them. And there are always disagreements.
When it comes to finding the right infrastructure, applications and management solutions, it is often best to work with a trusted Managed IT solutions partner, like eukhost, that will get to know your company and discuss the most appropriate options with you. This way, you can be sure that what you have in place meets your company’s aims, fits with your budget and aligns with your expertise.
For most businesses, the question of digital transformation is when not if. With competitors accelerating their adoption, keeping pace means moving quickly. However, while transformation provides many business-wide advantages, companies need to be mindful that it can be a challenging process. Hopefully, the information provided here will give you an idea of what to expect. For more information, visit our Enterprise Solutions page.