Digital transformation is one of the hottest trends in business. Companies want to be seen as sleek, modern enterprises designed to thrive in the extremely fast-paced demands of today’s market. Especially when the alternative is losing out to more nimble competitors.
With the rush to transform, however, many organizations discover some unexpected hurdles when forging ahead with a digital transformation. And to prove it’s not all steep climbs, we’ve also included a few upsides that companies often don’t anticipate.
Here are three challenges and three benefits that might not be on the radar screen when organizations set out to revamp themselves by deploying new technologies such as upgraded solutions, cloud services, apps, analytics and beyond.
Lack of complete buy-in of various teams
It doesn’t matter whether you’re developing consumer-focused software or designing complex aerospace systems, most team members are resistant to change of any kind. And digital transformation levels up changes in a big way. Getting widespread buy-in for these efforts might be a challenge that IT leaders, for instance, weren’t anticipating or prepared for.
The adoption of various technologies can change the way processes are conducted and how employees interact and collaborate with each other and customers. It can create a need for new skills and introduce fears about loss of jobs. And this change and uncertainty effects virtually every facet of the organization.
With that in mind, it’s understandable not everyone is going to quickly buy into the idea of digital transformation, including the finance people who oversee IT spending. It’s up to IT leadership to make the case for why transformation is well worth the effort. After all, what good is the investment of a new technology if it doesn’t get used correctly (or at all)?
The sheer magnitude and breadth of transformation projects makes them a natural for cost overruns and delays in completion. It’s easy to see how endeavors could go well past original scope. And it’s not like a company can just grind its production to a halt so its teams can adjust and absorb all the nuances of a transformation.
Even as companies are adopting technologies such as data analytics platforms, for example, new innovations might be introduced that set things in a different direction.
Such adjustments can end up resulting in projects that take a lot longer to complete and at greater cost. And based on recent research, transformation is gobbling up a lot of dollars. A late 2017 report from International Data Corp. (IDC) estimated that worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies was expected to be nearly $1.3 trillion in 2018, an increase of 17% over the $1.1 trillion spent in 2017.
Among the ways to avoid scope creep is to have a good understanding of the long-term goals of the organization and which technologies can help meet those marks within cost constraints. For example, if you’re switching to a new product development platform that’ll save you rework and shave time to market, don’t lose sight of the expected ROI so everyone understands the value of the endgame. It’s also smart to be prepared for changing market conditions and have a strong grasp on who’s running central control of transformation efforts.
Deployment and adoption issues
A digital transformation strategy might involve the deployment of multiple cloud services (including public and private clouds), analytics platforms, mobile operating environments and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Integrating the various systems, particularly within a large, global organization, can be a huge undertaking. So can ensuring that the necessary skill sets are available to operate and maintain digital systems. At least initially, companies might need to turn to outside expertise for help with implementation, integration, training and consulting.
More satisfied team members
Yes, digital transformation can be stressful for employees and management alike. It can also present a number of advantages that increase end-user satisfaction, which is part of the reason so many organizations pursue it in the first place.
One of the biggest payoffs is that teams will no longer be relying on seemingly endless, manual, tedious processes. Whether it’s escaping the drain of chains of status meetings or tracking and updating versioned documents, teams unbound from manual processes of the past can use that new time and energy to pursue more productive and innovative endeavors.
Better recruiting efforts
A big part of the drive to move to digital transformation comes from not wanting your business to wither in this rapidly advancing landscape. And the value of the evolution cuts to the future of your company, and those who inhabit it.
Organizations are already in a fierce battle to find and hire those with the sharpest technology skills in areas such as engineering, data science and information security. But demand for these talents far exceeds the supply of professionals.
Companies that are using modernized processes as a result of their digital transformation efforts might have a better likelihood of landing their top picks. Younger workers, in particular, could be more open to working for organizations that are adopting the latest technologies.
Breaking down organizational silos
Technology executives often bemoan the existence of organizational walls that make it difficult to leverage systems and data within an enterprise. Lines of business or various departments are not always open to sharing, which commonly leads to misalignment.
Digital transformation can help change that culture and break down the barriers, by consolidating some services, promoting greater information sharing and creating new technology standards wherever it makes sense. Companies can not only restructure as they’re transforming, but they can also create a new, unified mindset that emphasizes teams rather than hierarchies.
If you’re exploring new solutions to upgrade your development process, check out our guide to selecting the right product development platform.
Author Bob Violino is a freelance writer who covers a variety of technology and business topics