Inside Track: Digital Transformation — a culture thing
12 April 2018 | 0
On one level, digital transformation is not a difficult concept to appreciate. What company does not want to apply digital technology to the ways it does business to see if they can be improved, simplified or otherwise made more efficient?
But on another, it is actually a pretty complicated concept to get right. Engaging in a digital transformation process is the equivalent of putting a business on a therapist’s couch and examining the deepest recesses of its mind.
How efficient is the business? How resistant is it to change? Why does it do things the way it does and is there a better way? If there is, then change can be painful. Engaging in digital transformation can cause some serious introspection because most experts agree that this process is as much about cultural and organisational change as it is about tools and technologies.
However, without the tools and technology to support the former, the journey is much harder than it needs to be. From change management and collaboration tools to analytics and customer experience, there is a broad range of technologies available to support the digital transformation journey.
“My first instinct is to say that the focus should be 100% on culture and the tools and technologies will follow,” said Vicky Godolphin, head of digital for Accenture.
“What I’ve seen over the last number of years is that when people embark on a digital journey they almost always start with some tool or technology. They start by saying ‘we need to get an app out’ or ‘we need to improve the customer’s online experience’ or something similar.”
“In other words, it’s about the platform and the product that’s going to be sold through that channel. The last thing that gets done is reorganising the business, changing roles and responsibilities and then actually looking at the culture.”
However, if a company wants to work in a more agile and innovative way and be able to react to the market faster, then changing the culture can start with a tool – the company needs to rethink how it handles internal communications first.
“Companies want to be able to shorten the timescale between having an idea and executing it. For that to happen, at a base level you need to have good collaboration tools and good web-based project management systems in place,” said Godolphin.
“From an enterprise-wide perspective, good collaboration tools are necessary because the connections between different parts of the business can be weak. The reality is that operating models are often slow to catch up with the change that’s happening from an IT point of view,” she said.
“So, if you’re still connecting into traditional silos and having multiple nodes in the enterprise, then you should know that this slows down the process of communicating information. Using enterprise wide collaboration tools to try and make those connections a lot more seamless is a great place to start. These will allow you to automate and track work activity better from a change perspective and I think also to look at how you go about prototyping.”
Digital transformation is an enormously important force at work in the market at the moment, according to Ronan Fitzpatrick, digital director for PwC Ireland.
“Many organisations are looking to transform the way they do business and to do things differently, be more efficient, get closer to their customers and change their operating models. And they’re trying to use emerging technologies to help them do that,” he said.
“But it also has to be said that we see a significant amount of failure when it comes to digital transformations. We did a survey last year that showed that nearly 50% of Irish executives reported that they failed to deliver on the scope of their transformation piece so there’s a lot to play for in this space.”
“There are a few different reasons why we’re seeing executives fail to deliver, and one of them is something that we have seen before when it comes to digital — some of the disciplines that you’d take for granted as important parts of project management seem to go out of the window.”
What Fitzpatrick means is that it is not uncommon for companies to focus on ‘innovation’ in general but not necessarily on which specific innovations or emerging technologies might be most relevant to a particular organisation.
“They end up doing speculative project work without the benefit of the kind of business case that would be expected with more traditional projects,” he said.
In terms of where to start and what tools and technologies are right for any individual enterprise, Fitzpatrick said that the first tool that companies looking at digital transformation have at their disposal is their data.
“Your data is an asset and you should try to gain the maximum value from it while looking to thicken out that data set with information from your customers. You need to know what you are getting from your website reviews, your mobile site reviews, your customer service agents and having an end-to-end view of a customer’s contact with you.”
This is important because Fitzpatrick has seen companies doing customer journey mapping but not actually involving data in that process.
“They’re working off how they think customers use their product as opposed to what they could derive from their data. After this, the second piece of the digital transformation puzzle is that there is no doubt that advancements in cloud cognitive services are currently huge and are going to get even more important for organisations,” he said.
One effect of working with technologies such as cloud, software and platform as a service is that organisations should be able to focus on areas where they should be unique, not on parts of processes that they believe to be unique.
“Cloud gets rid of some of that thought process and says okay, from a customer perspective, how do we want to be different? Our processes at the back end don’t necessarily need to be different, but cloud can put that discipline on you,” said Fitzpatrick.
“While we’re seeing an awful lot of change in digital transformation above the glass – ie the customer-facing piece — we’re also seeing more and more digitisation at the mid-office and back office. And that’s where process automation and intelligent automation is coming to the fore and you can free up your people to deliver higher value activities than repetitively entering data into systems.”
PwC believes it is important not to look at digital transformation purely as a technology-driven activity, but instead to do an assessment of the organisation to see what it wants to achieve from the process. In addition, Fitzpatrick advises that it’s important that the technology that is deployed be thoroughly tested and be up to the mark from the employee’s point of view.
“Your employees are used to good user experiences on their phone and they don’t tolerate bad experiences anymore, so you have to be very careful how you introduce change. If you don’t get buy-in from your people in terms of what you’re trying to achieve and get on a common page, it can be very difficult to deliver that transformation as well. That’s one of the other reasons that we’re seeing failure,” he said.
For Marcella Flood, head of digital transformation at Allianz Worldwide Care, a key difference between a digital transformation programme and an IT programme are the cultural changes required to successfully deliver results.
“I believe that digital is firstly about the experience, about creating engaging, enjoyable and easy processes for all stakeholders, and to do this we need to start within the organisation. We are working hard to bring our people with us on the journey, building new capabilities, for example product owners, scrum masters, digital marketers and so on,” she said.
“We are embracing new ways of working, for example, using Agile methodologies. We do a lot to keep people informed about what is happening, using intranet connect sites, company-wide live streamed video events and we focus a lot on how we can connect those that are working in digital across our large organisation, to prevent creating isolated islands of expertise.”
Flood sees digitisation as both a significant threat and an opportunity for business due to the way in which it is transforming both economies and economics.
“Probably one of the most significant challenges for us is our size and company organisational structure and history. We have a long tradition, having been founded way back in 1890 in Germany. Although the German market is still a significant proportion of our business, we are now a conglomerate with a global reach across over 70 countries,” she said.
“We are challenged as all are with pace of change in IT. It can be tricky to carve-out a path where you are utilising and benefiting from the best that the new technologies can offer whilst not moving too close to the bleeding edge. We have to find the right risk-reward balance for our company in our industry at this point in time.”
|“We are applying digital technologies like digital twins, simulation software, additive manufacturing and intelligent automation in our own facilities. We are fostering a culture change to become faster, more agile, more innovative. And because speed is of the essence in the digital era, we collaborate with an ecosystem of partners, as well as co-create solutions with our customers”||
Siemens Ltd Gary O’Callaghan, CEO
|Every day, billions of connected devices and ma¬chines bridge the real and virtual worlds, changing the way we live, travel, work and make things. By 2020 Gartner estimates that there will be over 20 billion connected devices. Today most of the data collected is unused or not used to its fullest potential. With innovative technologies, Siemens is helping industries from manufacturing to power utilities to transportation to embrace the power of data.We merge the physical and virtual worlds through the simulation of products, machines and plants using digital twins. Digital twins can reduce time to market by up to 50% by virtually testing prod¬ucts and production processes before actual produc¬tion begins. Digital twins of plants and machines offer numerous benefits throughout the entire lifecy¬cle from product design, production planning, and engineering to commissioning, operation, servicing and the modernisation of systems and plants.
Every machine and system holds a wealth of data. MindSphere, the cloud-based operating system for the Internet of Things, can connect machines and physical infrastructure to the digital world. Offering industrial apps and digital services, MindSphere can reduce downtime, increase output and optimise use of assets. As an open platform, customers and third parties can use MindSphere to develop their own applications, digital services and even new business models.
At Siemens we are also seizing the potential of digi¬talisation to transform our own company. We are applying digital technologies like digital twins, simu¬lation software, additive manufacturing and intelli¬gent automation in our own facilities. We are foster¬ing a culture change to become faster, more agile, more innovative. And because speed is of the essence in the digital era, we collaborate with an ecosystem of partners, as well as co-create solutions with our customers.
Together with our customers, Siemens is helping to shape Digitalisation worldwide. We’re using digital technologies to improve the stability of power grids, to increase the electricity output of wind farms, to reduce energy consumption in buildings and to enhance other critical systems that keep our world running smoothly. With our industry specific know-how, we can identify how Digitalisation can improve productivity, performance and competitiveness. As a result, our customers in Ireland can count on a partner who will support them in successfully meet¬ing their requirements for the future.
|“Employees must feel equipped to use these digital technologies as it is only then that the workforce will be able to operate more efficiently”||
Canon Ireland Philip Brady, country manager
|Our home and work lives are changing at an unprecedented rate, driven by the increasing importance of digital information and communications. Businesses that are able to manage and process this data effectively can drive growth and profitability and avoid being left behind by the competition.There are many options when it comes to technology, but the most important decision is often who you trust to guide you through the change it brings for your business and the uncertainty it can cause for your staff. Many vendors are able to sell a product, but do they truly understand how to embed it in your business for maximum impact?
At Canon, we create truly mobile integrated approaches to digital transformation for our customers. We have helped customers implement mobile document access, mobile printing and digital mailrooms that automatically digitise and deliver all posted documents directly to the recipient’s inbox in email form. These solutions are designed to help staff work flexibly — whether travelling or working from a hot desk in a different office — and our document solutions also included a secure identification and job release system to bolster information security.
Employees must feel equipped to use these digital technologies as it is only then that the workforce will be able to operate more efficiently. The benefits of investing in equipment is limited if staff don’t know how to use it. Technology investments along with a partnership that focuses on driving efficiencies through effective implementation, training and on-going support will all benefit employee productivity and satisfaction, ensuring digital transformation is successful.
|Clearly defined path|
|“The change in workforce tooling is not without its challenges for IT, and an important part of any PoC is highlighting the operational changes and benefits resulting from the change in end-user experience”||
Triangle Richard O’Brien, IT director
|At Triangle, we are focused on the workforce enablement and process digitisation elements of digital transformation.
We start by understanding the workforce, segmenting the roles and right-sizing the
technology solutions for typically six or seven user types in the organisation. This approach then leads to a future state road-map, with a clearly defined pathway to deliver the digital transformation tooling to employee’s, with a defined investment.Some core principles apply in defining this future state:
Once we have the future state defined, a proof of concept (PoC) is typically delivered, to showcase to line-of-business the potential benefits of a consistent approach to application delivery, demonstrating the potential for process digitisation. The PoC also provides the opportunity for an organisation to review work practices and policy in relation to the changes workforce enablement and process digitisation deliver.
The change in workforce tooling is not without its challenges for IT, and an important part of any PoC is highlighting the operational changes and benefits resulting from the change in end-user experience.
At Triangle, our solution of choice for workforce enablement is VMware’s Workspace One platform. Workspace One combines an industry leading unified end-point management solution with flexible identity management, built with extensibility in mind, and a robust application catalogue, with integrated single-sign-on.
Application delivery from a common interface, device independent, encompassing both modern and legacy applications is a key driver for digital transformation. The workforce has a single-point of access for all enterprise applications, with a range of native platform assists to smooth the interaction with legacy applications.
Workspace One has a strong security focus, providing a policy based approach to application access. These policies allow not only for user credential validation combined with 2FA, but can also take into account the compliance state of a device, the device type, device location etc.
|“The successful businesses are the ones embracing this digital evolution by changing their business model to meet new evolved digital market place we live and operate business in”||
Asystec Kevin Stanford, solutions architect
|Digital Transformation at its core is a business transformation journey and an evolution on how successful businesses are operating to ensure business products and services reach their target market, from inception to release in an agile manner, without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction.The need for this transformation stems from the change of behaviour of the consumer who demands a simple digital approach to any service they consume at anytime and anywhere in the world with a swipe or touch of their finger and now from a simple voice command.
The successful businesses are the ones embracing this digital evolution by changing their business model to meet new evolved digital market place we live and operate business in.In order to change how a business operates and transforms to a digital business there will inevitably need to be disruption from an organisational, strategic, operational approach and from a supporting technology perspective to achieve this goal.Asystec works with organisations looking to begin (or already started) their Digital Transformation journey by surveying how mature they are currently in a range of areas. While People, Process and Technology are at the core of any business transformation, Asystec focuses on the Technology transformation.This journey has a phased approach and starts with the IT Infrastructure underpinning the digital services by adopting technologies that scale in an agile and efficient manner while looking to shift the large upfront Capital spend to more of an OpEx model to ensure the IT Infrastructure scales at the same rate as the business. Once a scalable engineered IT infrastructure is adopted the focus shifts to provisioning in an agile manner. Following on from this the final phase of the digital transformation can then shift to where the focus should be which is the application provisioning layer.This phased approach involves business unit leaders championing the strategy and ensuring key members from numerous areas of the business are involved at all phases which, ensures a successful collaborative methodology not ostracising any area of the business during this Digital Transformation.
Asystec has seen the greatest success when involved at the earliest possible stage to workshop a suitable Digital transformation strategy from conception to implementation.
|Complex and challenging|
|“As end user adoption of the cloud model continues to grow; and factors like security remain a priority from a vendor perspective, organisations’ are increasingly deploying mission critical business applications on public cloud infrastructure”||
Enterprise Solutions Niamh O’Donovan, sales manager
|For many organisations, digital transformation is a priority but implementing the strategy is more complex and challenging. We work with customers to set out a roadmap, transform one or two services and build from there. From the customer’s perspective, implementing a digital transformation strategy should be a well-planned and a relatively seamless transition.User expectation to access business applications, from any device or any location, that are delivered securely is paving the way for digital transformation in the workplace.
Enterprise Solutions are delivering innovative projects and moving critical business applications to the cloud across many verticals with the following business and end user benefits:
Security and compliance are top of the agenda and are being addressed through secure digital workspaces. Citrix Workspace Service offers app and desktop virtualisation, secure mobility management, mobile productivity apps, on-premises or cloud-based file sharing, plus networking for secure remote access.
As end user adoption of the cloud model continues to grow; and factors like security remain a priority from a vendor perspective, organisations’ are increasingly deploying mission critical business applications on public cloud infrastructure, such as Microsoft Azure.
We live in an increasingly digital world. The convergence of Cloud, Mobile and Big Data is powering disruptive business models and transforming how we work and live. The time has come for businesses to transform and the opportunities for those that do are significant.
Enterprise Solutions is an award-winning Citrix Platinum Partner with specialisations in Mobility, Virtualisation and Networking and a Microsoft Managed Cloud Partner.
|Breadth of technologies|
|“There is no single key technology or set of technologies to achieve digital transformation”||
Singlepoint Hugh Nolan, head of delivery
|In today’s rapidly changing markets companies understand the need to shift their business and information technology capability towards a more digital oriented view of their business. With products and business models being disrupted on a daily basis the need to be able to change quickly is a baseline requirement for staying in business. With information technology at the core of every modern business, that core needs to be able to change as rapidly as the rest of the business. This is what digital transformation is all about. How businesses transform to thrive in a world that doesn’t just use technology, but is driven by it.Key to a successful digital transformation journey is understanding where you are at and where you are trying to get to. This is where Singlepoint helps our customers by building an understanding of their existing business and information technology processes and systems, and how they see those processes changing to meet the evolving challenges of the markets they operate in. From this baseline we map a transformation path that optimises the value of the customers’ existing technology estate while making the changes necessary to facilitate rapid agile change with minimal downtime and flexible scaling.
No two customers are alike and the technologies we recommend to achieve digital transformation vary considerably per customer. To this end we very deliberately do not have a single key technology. We do have a wide breadth of knowledge of current technologies, technology trends and indeed are constantly learning from our customers’ business models and how they use technology to achieve their business goals.
There is no single key technology or set of technologies to achieve digital transformation. At Singlepoint we can help you on your digital transformation journey.
|“Our solutions provide support for change management, security, operational efficiencies, and IT governance. They simplify IT management with software products that are easy to use, easy to deploy, and easy on customer budgets”||
Servaplex Ltd Gerry Cullen, director
|As an independent IT software supplier, we support our customer’s digital transformation by bringing world class IT management software solutions for Active Directory, Endpoint Management, Service Desk and more. Servaplex provide software products that work for all businesses, regardless of size or budget with clients in a broad range of industries including government, education, financial services, construction and manufacturing.Our solutions provide support for change management, security, operational efficiencies, and IT governance. They simplify IT management with software products that are easy to use, easy to deploy, and easy on customer budgets — no costly consulting fees or over-priced licences.
Digital transformation is supported across our portfolio and we are very fortunate to have well informed and highly skilled customers who know exactly what they need before they pick up the phone to us. We help by providing tools to manage all aspects of IT operations including networks, servers, applications, desktops, mobile devices, service desks, Active Directory and security. At the end of the day, its all about fulfilling the customer’s needs.
|“For any successful transformation programme we think it’s key to understand the business challenge first. When this has been done, you can start to work on the technology solution”||
TEKenable Paul Richmond, business development manager
|TEKenable has been focused on digital transformation since 2002.Our success in delivering digital transformation for our clients has two key elements.
The first is that we adopt a ‘business first’ approach to all our engagements. That means that we engage with the client from a business perspective rather than a technology perspective, getting to understand in depth how the business operates today, what it wants to achieve tomorrow and the challenges preventing this.
Only when we understand this, do we begin to identify a potential technology solution. Being a custom software company, this approach comes easily. For one, we don’t have a suite of pre-packaged solutions that we try to foist on our clients. And we’re not focused on generating licence revenues. These are certainly two reasons why we have successfully worked with companies as diverse as Zurich Life, Dairygold and Musgrave.
That said, we aren’t completely neutral when it comes to technology platforms. We’ve always worked with Microsoft technologies and we have a large C#.NET development team. We also use Microsoft Azure, Office 365, SharePoint and Dynamics 365.
Dynamics is a particularly useful Microsoft Platform. Though it originally started out as a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, it’s now more appropriately called Dynamics xRM, with x representing any relationship. It i highly configurable, with strong out of the box functionality but it’s also a great platform on which to create more complex bespoke workflows and business processes. In the past year we’ve used Dynamics in projects in sectors as diverse as Financial Services, Healthcare and Local Government.
So for any successful transformation programme we think it’s key to understand the business challenge first. When this has been done, you can start to work on the technology solution and we bring a really large kit bag of technology expertise to each assignment.