Companies who have established themselves on a digital framework have derived great value from leveraging emerging technology. For established businesses, however, it hasn’t been quite so simple: legacy frameworks have had to be replaced and new methods adopted over lengthy periods of time. For the latter group, there have been surprises and rewards in equal measure. Fortunately, the destination will be well worth the journey, no matter how bumpy the road.
While younger companies lack the experience and the market penetration that more established organizations have, what they do have going for them is agility. Not tied into legacy infrastructure or last-century workflows, they are free to experiment and adopt the technology that makes the most sense to them.
Overcoming barriers to digital transformation
Today’s disruptive technology gives young companies the leverage they need to compete and even succeed over their biggest competitors—but where does that leave the incumbents?
Research shows that digitally capable companies, even when smaller in scope, can seize a large portion of available market share when pitted against their slow-moving—albeit more established—competitors. With a narrow margin for error, diligence and perseverance are required. Staying the course is imperative, but a gradual approach is necessary in order to prevent the upstart from gaining ground.
The larger the organization, the more complex the considerations for digital disruption. While it’s difficult to imagine any significantly large enterprise that has not yet undergone some level of transformation, there are plenty that have run up against substantial progress-impeding roadblocks along the way. Adopting a nimble and agile response posture helps to support the handling of problems when they arise, but you can’t always be dodging bullets and looking over your shoulder to see when the next one is coming.
The pressure is on to change and do it fast, but the journey is just as important as where you end up. If the customer experience is today’s battleground, the way you communicate those changes will lay the groundwork for a successful landing.
Rome wasn’t built in a day: the digital version
The value is clear, but the time and resources that are required to accomplish such a large-scale transformation are considerable. The reality is that legacy IT can’t simply be tossed out and new systems installed in a day. It takes great planning with a lot of proactive risk mitigation strategy to come through the process smoothly without excessive loss of revenue or other damage.
In order to ensure a seamless transition, the approach must be methodical. While new systems and processes are being integrated, business continuity demands that the customer experience must be supported above all else. Orienting company focus toward the customer journey is an imperative, as it helps to maintain focus on what’s truly important: keeping your customers happy.
The good news is that the new solutions are largely future-proof. Transitioning to a cloud-based computing infrastructure means that IT hardware spending is all but eliminated. Software and applications are housed in the cloud and become scalable, more efficient, and much more reliable. Security is easier to manage, and a world of new digital options becomes available in the realms of telecom, connectivity, mobility, virtualization, and more.
Critical steps towards a successful transition
Companies that are preparing to transition should take a methodical, step-by-step approach. This will help minimize disruption to employees and customers alike.
Working with a managed IT provider who will work with you and identify your unique challenges is key. A reliable IT partner can help you plan your transition with an eye towards minimal disruption and assure pain-free adoption throughout your workforce.
To preserve the company assets you currently hold, the process should be divided into three distinct stages:
1. Establishment of platforms in the cloud
Your application platform is crucial to future success. New services and features can be deployed on a wide-scale basis through APIs, collaboration can be enabled through digital communication, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions such as SalesForce can be leveraged to great advantage.
2. Migration of applications to the cloud
Once you have established your platform in the cloud, your existing applications should be transferred next. Most of the major productivity suites—such as Microsoft Office 365 and Azure—offer cloud-based versions. Data security is more robust and reliable, your employees will always have the latest versions, and you will be able to take advantage of next-generation features such as having Skype for Business (S4B) integrated into your CRM.
3. Legacy IT asset integration
While it may not be possible to migrate all of your legacy IT assets to the cloud because of technical, operational, or compliance issues, the applications that must remain on legacy servers can be integrated into a hybrid cloud environment that adequately supports your needs. Once the larger framework is established, it will be easier to transition in the future when there is a viable alternative.
Modernization is not an end-state
While the process of modernization may be one of the biggest things your company has undertaken to date, it should never be seen as a destination with any finality.
Technology continues to prove itself capable of improving business processes, supporting the potential for continued scalability, globalization, and boundless profitability. Keeping an open mind to the possibilities is key, as is working with IT vendors who can deliver tangible results as well as flexible, forward-thinking thought leadership.
Once modernized, you will be in a much better position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. The added benefits include a greatly reduced IT expenditure, access to real-time business intelligence, a more secure IT ecosystem, and access to exciting solutions that you can leverage to competitive advantage. Gone are the data silos of the past, and with them, the poorly-timed responses they spawned.
If you are doing business in Arkansas and would like to gain more insight on digital transformation, schedule a consultation with Business World today.