Raconteur

Digital Transformation 2020 September

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D I G I T A L T R A N S F O R M A T I O N 10 Leading a successful digital trans- formation and avoiding com- mon pitfalls is not a destination, rather it's a mindset and a jour- ney. Effective leadership builds confidence in the transforma- tion process and is paramount to a company staying competitive in the future, says Ian Kieninger, co-founder and chief executive of AVANT Communications. If the decision-makers within an organisation don't fully buy in to the journey, it will hold back inno- vation and growth. "Leadership doesn't necessarily need to under- stand the technical aspects of all digital transformation initiatives, but they need to have the foresight to encourage and embrace change, Leadership in the transformation process setting a vision employees can follow, carry out and believe in," says Kieninger. He believes the leadership needs to evaluate if it has the right skills to bring a new vision to light. And while these capabilities and skills can come from within, investments in the right people are essential. "If the organisation doesn't have the necessary skills, success - ful digital transformation can still be achieved by investing in out- side partnerships that can get you where you need to go. Whether this involves hiring different talent or partnering with a trusted adviser who has the necessary expertise, there are many ways to get this right," says Kieninger. From empowering workers to upgrading tools, experts describe the five key elements of any successful digital evolution Five lessons for digital success uccessful digital transfor- mation is by no means guar- anteed. Undertaking trans- formation doesn't equal success. Research firm Gartner has found most organisations don't have a clear vision of the initiative, especially in a way that is easily understood by employees at middle management and below. And the process some- times takes the focus away from oper- ational excellence, which can result in visible, avoidable failures that hurt the reputation of executive leaders. While undertaking a transforma- tion process, designed to capture the benefits of digital technologies and improved performance, requires commitment and focus, five key dig- ital transformation success factors have been identified. Leadership, capability building, empowering workers, upgrading tools and com- munication are integral to a suc- cessful transformation, according to research by McKinsey & Company. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically accelerated the need to reshape to meet the chal- lenges organisations are facing across the board. According to Gartner, the pandemic has forced rapid digital innovation and created the need for cross-functional teams that bring together technology experts with business analysts to work collabo- ratively and at speed to develop new platforms and solutions. Here leaders from across the spec- trum expand on the digital trans- formation success factors in 2020 and beyond. Rosalyn Page V I S I O N 1 Commercial feature ilicon Valley giants have dis- rupted traditional markets because of their mastery of data, which helps them understand cus- tomers better, cut costs and scale faster. By contrast, many big pre-internet firms are hindered by legacy IT invest- ments, which stop them from exe- cuting as quickly as the more nimble startups. As Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said: "In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it's the fast fish which eats the slow fish." Many traditional companies now hope digital transformation can reverse their fortunes and unleash exciting possibili- ties, but few understand what is required for a full transformation to take place. Hardest part of a digital transformation The most common mistake is for com- panies to focus all their energy on developing web and mobile apps to improve the customer experience, while forgetting about the more fun- damental problem: how to access existing IT systems and processes quickly, securely and at scale. In the cloud era, this data access is achieved via an application pro- gramming interface, or API, which is a system that allows other systems to talk to each other. Just like humans inter- act with programs through a user inter- face, a program interface interacts with other software programs. These APIs can then be made avail- able on a developer portal to improve developer experience, essentially making it much easier for software engineers to write powerful solutions. These days such systems and appli- cations are all based in the cloud, presenting firms with cost savings and opportunities to scale that could only Delivering the promise of digital Ever since digital-first companies such as Amazon and Airbnb reinvented the blueprint for building a market-leading business, the rest of the world has been racing to catch up be dreamt of several years ago. Yet to truly benefit, organisations must embrace cloud-native principles, which advocate delivering applications in smaller microservices. To be successful, it is likely they will need to hire or retrain large teams of leaders, managers, consultants and engineers who are used to working in different ways. Faster innovation Integrella, a UK based consulting com- pany, has used its experience working on hundreds of digital transformation projects to assemble the best open source software required for building APIs in a modern cloud-native archi- tecture, while combining it with its own proprietary intellectual property. It has helped top-flight banks, major insurers, high street retailers and NHS trusts to accelerate digital in a cost-ef- fective way, while leveraging their exist- ing assets and therefore minimising risk. Integrella gives its software, which it calls its Digital Integration Platform, away for free to companies to drasti- cally reduce the time, effort and risk involved in going digital. It has pioneered its open API Lab to help firms API enable their existing data and processes, so they can innovate at the pace of a startup. It consists of a target operating model, automated processes, standards and best practices, along with an onshore/off- shore expert team that can provide tech- nical support 24 hours a day at a fraction the cost of most single-tiered vendors. Scaling the solution Digital transformation is about more than just technology, however, which is why Integrella supports its clients at every stage of their digital transforma- tion, from helping them work out what they want to scaling the solution across the entire business. Crucially, it builds a pilot of the solution in the form of a minimum viable product, or MVP, to prove the initial assumptions in the business case stack up and allowing them to identify potential problems early on and get buy-in from stakeholders or external investors. The risks are high with as many as 80 per cent of digital transformation projects failing to provide returns on investment due to poor strategy or execution. But inaction poses a much greater threat. Pre-internet companies that do not achieve digital transformation will be unable to leverage the data trapped inside their businesses, making it harder to grow and innovate as more nimble digital-first rivals speed ahead. The need for a trusted partner that can facilitate effective digital transfor- mation has never been greater. For more information please visit integrella.com S Companies can maximise their chances of success by working with an experienced partner SUCCES S R ATE OF DIGITAL TR ANSFORMATIONS, BY KE Y FAC TORS, % OF RESP ONDENTS Digital tools were implemented to make information more accessible across organization Digital self-serve technology was implemented for employees' and/or business partners' use Standard operating procedures were modified to include new digital technologies Senior leaders encouraged employees to experiment with new ideas People engaged in key roles encouraged employees to challenge old ways of working 24 21 10 2.1x 12 21 12 22 13 20 12 2.0x 1.8x 1.7x 1.7x Statement describes transformation Statement does not describe transformation mckinsey.com S

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