IT transformation is a long process that affects all areas of your tech infrastructure.—and your business. Companies must examine how their systems, networks, and business policies mesh to ensure the IT transformation works well and is ultimately successful. Even with the recent acceleration toward transformation, a survey by Intel found that 60% of IT leaders say their companies aren’t prepared to meet future IT needs.
Why accelerate IT transformation?
If you’ve been doing your IT transformation bit by bit, you might be wondering why you should concentrate your efforts on completing it all sooner.
- People today expect on-demand, fast access to their digital tools at work, just like the ones they use at home. They have a higher digital standard than before, which can be hard for businesses to achieve. Accelerating the transformation can guarantee the right tech experience for employees and customers.
- Companies want to maximise the productivity and effectiveness of their employees, and IT transformation provides the solutions that help them do that. Replace time-consuming manual processes with automated ones, add technology to reduce the time and effort it takes to manage business operations, and improve productivity across the board.
- Without modern IT systems, your company won’t be able to protect all of your data (and that’s provided you even know where it’s all stored.) Transformation will help you execute a security strategy consistently across all systems, applications, data, and networks.
- Companies that create partnerships across their industries to keep up with competition often deal with document-based communication at some point. All of these are inefficient and often bog down operations on both sides. IT transformation can help redesign the entire process and support it with a streamlined workflow that’s more accurate, transparent, and timely.
The challenges to accelerating IT transformation
Companies planning to accelerate their IT transformation efforts invariably face challenges that block their progress. It starts with tech investments that are tied up in multi-year vendor contracts that cannot be broken without penalty. Companies must decide whether to ride out the contracts or budget for the financial penalties.
Next, companies face an IT skill shortage as they compete with other companies for scarce tech resources. According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, the UK faces a significant skills shortage in cybersecurity, data analysis, and data architecture. More than 44% of all cybersecurity vacancies posted in the last few years have been “hard to fill,” partially due to a lack of technical skills or knowledge and increased competition.
Thirdly, while IT transformation initiatives will eventually result in savings, it can seem to company leaders that costs are spiralling out of control with each major phase completion. It can be tempting to reduce spending and “see how we do” after the first few months. However, an IT transformation needs a smooth and steady flow of agreed investment over the entire project lifecycle to be successful. Any interruptions will break the momentum and delay you from reaching your final state.
Finally, companies with very closed-off communication styles or business unit silos will struggle to implement and complete an IT transformation. Change is hard and can be very disruptive to a company’s productivity. Employees will want to know and understand what’s going on at every stage, especially if delays or issues arise. IT and business teams should be committed to collaborating openly and effectively, resolving conflicts as they arise, so they don’t negatively impact the company as a whole.
Now, if you’re committed to your company’s IT transformation and want to keep up the momentum, we’ve gathered five strategies for you. They’ll accelerate your company’s IT transformation efforts so you can overcome these challenges and enjoy the benefits they’ll bring.
Five strategies to accelerate IT transformation
1. Approach it from a holistic perspective
A transformation initiative is a large undertaking that’ll require buy-in and support from around your company. IT transformation will affect everyone, not just those immediately impacted by the change, so it’s essential to view it as a holistic change rather than a piecemeal IT change.
For example, many business leaders will explore partial IT changes such as moving to the cloud, using IAAS, or exploring server and application virtualisation as a cure for all that ails the business. These changes are supposed to improve performance and increase satisfaction across business units, yet they don’t actively support higher-level organisational goals. Sure, you might solve one team or unit problem, but the change doesn’t actively contribute to overall company performance or goals. It’s a reactive approach to something that could be fixed proactively with an IT transformation project that aligns with strategic business objectives, revenue goals, and cross-functional workflows.
Even just one change can dramatically impact your business overall, but only if you implement it with that intention.
2. Deal with stakeholders early
Leadership commitment and stakeholder engagement are prerequisites for a successful IT transformation. That’s especially true since most transformation initiatives take years to achieve. It requires at least one leader to sponsor the initiative and commit to seeing it through, including defending it when confronted with those who don’t see the entire vision.
Along with leadership sponsorship, getting employees excited about the change is essential. IT transformation is only as successful as the business culture that supports it. Create a communication strategy that clearly illustrates the business challenges the transformation solves for each business unit. Communicate early and often with people, listen to their comments, and be as transparent as possible throughout the transformation lifecycle.
3. Adopt a hybrid, multi-cloud approach
Consider adopting a hybrid, multi-cloud approach for your IT transformation. It combines the best of private and public cloud resources, allowing you to allocate workloads regardless of location. You can extend your computing, storage, and network resources beyond your current IT capacity as needed, ensuring your company is supported as it’s needed. The additional resources can help you manage seasonal spikes, maintain service-level agreements (SLAs) and uptime requirements, focus on rapid IT delivery, and ensure workloads are always able to deliver good customer experiences. Plus, you’ll be able to weather any outages that might occur if any system goes down with minimal disruption to your operations.
4. Adopt a data-first mindset
Another reason companies undertake an IT transformation is to optimise and integrate their data architecture. Often, data is stored in so many repositories, databases, and applications that companies aren’t fully aware of what they have. Creating a strong data-first environment as part of an IT transformation initiative clearly states the vision for data across the company, promotes a data-oriented culture, and ensures that people and systems can easily get the data they need.
Gathering isolated and spread-out data as part of the transformation ensures that trusted data is available across all business units and processes. Further, AI and machine learning systems can be applied to the newly-unified data to unlock new insights your company might not have had access to before. There’s also less risk of exposure or data loss because the data is now managed and monitored across the enterprise.
5. Increase endpoint manageability and security
Adding or replacing IT systems often means IT teams bear the burden of any IT transformation project that’s done piecemeal. They now have more endpoints to monitor and secure, thereby increasing their workload. Adding monitoring and maintenance platforms to the IT transformation ensures that IT teams can maintain devices and systems more effectively. Many of these systems offer patch management and remote mediation, cutting the time and cost of maintenance and repair. Teams can access and repair devices remotely, reducing their time in the field.
Each new device or system also increases the cybersecurity risk for your company if you’re not prepared. Be sure to include a security phase in your IT transformation that adds multi-layered security approaches to your new IT systems and network. Protection like anti-malware applications, hardware-based security, detection, and remediation tools, risk management policies, and well-trained staff ensures your new IT systems will remain protected.
From a technology perspective, an IT transformation must address and include all aspects of IT at your company. That includes servers, storage, data centres, applications, cloud environments, virtualisation deployments, and more. You must integrate them into a cohesive and efficient system that supports improved productivity, efficiency, and, ultimately, higher profitability.
Use these five strategies to set your IT transformation initiatives on the road to success. For help with your transformation, reach out to Redcentric. Our experts can help craft an IT transformation strategy that works for you and your business.