Driving digital forward: how get the most out of your digital transformation

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Image credit: Shutterstock

The concept of digital transformation continues to be a hot topic for enterprises of all sizes and verticals. But the (sometimes painful) reality is that many enterprises have been “digitally transforming” themselves for years and are still not where they want to be as an organization. 

So why is this? It certainly doesn’t stem from a lack of effort or good intentions. Digital disruption is happening at a pace that makes it difficult for organizations of any size to keep up. 

If you’re an organization leader looking to take your transformation to the next level and maximize your results, or perhaps you’re just starting to formalize your plans, here are three steps that will help focus your digital transformation efforts, move more quickly, and maximize your results.

Explore the cloud

The truth is that the phrase “digital transformation” means different things to different people. It can be about taking offline processes online and digitizing the way customers interact with your company. It can mean literally taking physical products or resources and converting them to digital. Even something as simple as providing services online for more digital engagement. Whatever digital transformation might mean for your organization, the first step you should consider is how the cloud can or should fit into your strategy.

The cloud is here.  It is revolutionizing businesses large and small - how they operate, how they build products, and how they talk to their customers.  If you have yet to start this journey, or if you are trying to move to the cloud but are struggling, you need to keep your foot on the gas.

Ask yourself a few questions: First, where does the cloud's ability to scale and pay-for-what-you-use add value to your company?  It is imperative that you develop an understanding of where you can derive the most value because for most organizations, moving everything to the cloud as a blanket policy doesn’t make sense. You need to be strategic. Next, ask what workloads should be moved and what applications should be ported or re-platformed to use cloud tech? 

What we often see is that for almost all enterprises, there is a huge amount of potential value to be realized and that a large portion of their tech stack should, in fact, be migrated. But to stay organized and maximize the benefits, you need to have a clear policy and act on it. The key is to weigh the cost of not migrating against the cost of migrating and determine the right initial steps. When you are trying to weigh the cost of not moving, you should be sure to try to quantify the loss of market share and the agility of competitors to change and scale.  

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculations are never easy, but they get even more challenging when you are thinking about an existing product and a move to the cloud.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Image credit: Shutterstock

Leverage DevOps and automation

Digital is all about delivering value at velocity, and without the ability to move quickly, your competitors will leave you behind. For that reason, smart organizations are leveraging the power of things like DevOps and QA automation technologies to not only increase the value and quality of their products but to provide that value to customers faster. 

There are many outstanding solutions on the market to help make automation part of your IT processes, so it is simply a matter of finding the right one for your needs and budget.

Leveraging DevOps and automation after you have explored migrating to the cloud is key because the tools you use will be heavily influenced by the cloud solution you choose. Making sure your tech stack plays well together is obviously an important consideration in general and that holds true here. Even if you are only going to leverage cloud for existing applications, exploring how you can use automation for your products can have huge benefits to maximizing the impact of your digital transformation.

Architecture Considerations

The next step is to consider how application architecture itself can be modified or changed to take advantage of cloud concepts like serverless functions and alternate data storage capabilities. This step is about achieving maximum value for your effort. It’s also much easier to change architectures when you are starting a new project or have a significant subsystem to develop/redevelop. A new subsystem is a great way to take advantage of cloud technology, without doing major rewrites of existing systems.

Staying ahead of digital transformation is no easy task. But, going digital is absolutely critical if you don’t want to get left in the dust of your competitors. By keeping these three steps in mind, your organization can take advantage of the incredible technologies that are on the market and maximize the value -- both for your organization and your customers -- through digital transformation.

Jonathan Fries, VP of Engineering and Digital Transformation at Exadel