Discover why there is so much drama around digital transformation, and the things that you need to consider addressing to be successful.

September 7, 2022

6 Min Read


In the northern hemisphere, the dog days of summer are starting to wind down, kids are going back to school, and we’re starting to think about the family holidays that arrive in the fall. And at many businesses the cycle of planning for the new fiscal year -- and with it the questions around digital transformation -- are ramping up as well. What really needs to happen? What can we avoid? What is our strategy going to be in the new year? Can we afford it? So many questions, so much drama over two well-known words in IT -- digital transformation.

This is not a new struggle. In the early days of digital transformation, organizations would throw everything they had at it. But they quickly found that taking one technology out and replacing it with another was almost never the recipe for success. (Seventy percent of all digital transformations fail according to McKinsey.) Then the pandemic came along. Organizations were forced to transform many of their systems -- at least to some degree -- to accommodate newly remote employees, new market trends, and buying patterns that changed almost overnight. What they found – again -- was they couldn’t just up and replace their existing systems. There was too much intrinsic value in the IT systems they already had. But they could adapt and minimize much of the drama that presented itself.

Reducing Digital Transformation Drama

How can organizations avoid digital transformation stress and drama? Of course, the answer is unique to each organization. Ultimately, the business will demand solutions for customers that are timely, cost effective, and bring value for the long term. There are some top-level themes that organizations reviewing their digital transformation strategy for the coming year should consider:

How fast can you release?

In digital transformation, software that delivers value to the business is usually the focus of change. You need the ability to evaluate the development of the software at every step. It’s a constant game of, “Can we transform what we’re doing fast enough to have a chance to give our customers the thing they’re asking for and to get a positive return on our investment.”

Value stream management, a relatively new discipline in the IT world, helps CIOs bubble up the value of software delivery at every step of the process. It provides transparency across the software development lifecycle and gives key insights to the business about what is being developed and when it will be available. You can more easily discover roadblocks, risks, and inefficiencies, and make decisions based on real-time facts. These are vital answers you need as you run today and transform to keep up with your customers. For more, read “What is Value Stream Management.”

Speaking of value -- transform, modernize, or both?

Some organizations have deep historical value across their technology, including hardware, coding languages, and applications. The value these contribute to the success of the company cannot be replaced. But they do need to be able to interact with newer technologies -- like cloud -- to be able to deliver new capabilities that customers are demanding today.

Modernization of these existing systems and applications is a critical step to be able to interact with emerging technologies. You must understand the individualized needs and goals of your business to determine the modernization route that’s best to take. Finding a partner with deep experience and a proven framework can help you determine how to best move forward and interact with systems that rely on cloud, modern languages, and new applications. To learn more about modernization of existing systems, read “What is Application Modernization?”

Efficiency wins the day

A significant, standing requirement for IT teams is to maximize efficiency across existing tools, processes, and people to reduce transformation drama. Technologies that can assist with this are software robotics -- also known as robotic process automation -- and artificial intelligence.

Every action that can be automated saves time and money for an organization and has the potential to increase customer satisfaction. Plus, you can better manage risk through increased policy governance control, serve customer needs using virtual agents, and even improve event correlation to identify root causes faster. Software robotics and artificial intelligence can remove manual processes prone to human error and help identify areas of concern that should be addressed. To find out more about these technologies read “What is Artificial Intelligence.”

Trust wins loyalty

Data -- both organizational data and customer data -- are big topics for digital transformation. Companies don’t want to be in the headlines for the wrong reasons. And customers are becoming more attuned to the companies that work to protect their data. Transformation can be a time of vulnerability for organizations in both realms.

Finding ways to reduce risk and build resilience across the business is an underlying fact for digital transformation. Areas such as attack surface visibility, prioritized threat detection, and access management are all keys to building organizations that are resilient and resistant to threats. To find out more, read “What is Cyber Resilience?

No crystal ball needed

Another consideration around data is the value it brings to an organization. But there’s so much of it, in so many different formats, and its sheer size all present transformation challenges. Getting a handle on structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data wherever it lives is a foundational step in your transformation journey.

Once you have a means to get a handle on all your data -- wherever it lives, and whatever its size or format -- you can accelerate the business and technical insights you need to provide great customer experiences and stay ahead of the competition. For an example of the kinds of insights you can generate with your data, read “What are Behavioral Analytics?”

The all-pervasive cloud

A digital transformation technology that has made itself pervasive across all the previously mentioned considerations is cloud. Whether private, hybrid, or public, all digital transformation technologies use this as a fundamental building block. As established businesses look to take advantage of cloud, some important questions must be examined. How can we use and manage cloud? What are privacy issues related to cloud? What are the costs associated with cloud? For a primer on cloud, check out “What is Cloud Orchestration?

The Drama Is Coming -- But Be Prepared

The bottom line is that drama can be good or bad. When it’s good, it can actually help you focus both business and IT goals so you get ahead of the competition and can even absorb unpredictable change. If you charge ahead without understanding the unique needs of your institution you could wind up as one of the unfortunate digital transformation failures. So do your homework, ask questions, and get on the path to digital transformation success.


Eric Varness is the Chief Marketing Officer for Micro Focus.

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