Digital Transformation During a Pandemic

Digital transformation is the goal of many businesses today, especially with most of the workforce logging in from home. While COVID-19 accelerated the need for transformation, many businesses struggle to complete the transition.

For many businesses, digital transformation was on the agenda for 2020. It’s been a hot topic of late, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic sent everyone home to work. With that sudden surge of remote work, digital transformation suddenly became even more important. Not only is it needed to improve the efficiency of remote workers, but cyberattacks are on the rise and businesses need to protect themselves. The problem is, successful digital transformation transitions are hard to come by.

As reported by ZDNet, “Only 30% of digital transformation projects met or exceeded their target value, according to a report from Boston Consulting Group.

However, BCG said that another 44% created some value, but didn’t hit targets and resulted in only limited long-term change. BCG also noted that 26% created value of less than 50% of target and produced no sustainable change.”

There are many factors causing the success rate of digital transformation to be so low. The biggest one is the pandemic because trying to take on a project like this through virtual means is far more difficult than if the tech team were all in the same room. That said, of the 895 digital transformation projects included in the BCG analysis, more than 80% of businesses plan to accelerate their transformation agenda.

According to the BCG report, “When trying to bring everyone along with the overall plan, it can be easy to compromise and lose focus on the transformational aspiration. This is where the trouble usually starts.” The report goes on to mention six best practices that can flip the success rate to about 80%. Those best practices are:

  • A strategy with clear goals and business outcomes with the why, what and how.
  • Commitment from the CEO to middle management for accountability. BCG noted that middle managers are often overlooked.
  • Deploying high-caliber talent and freeing up resources.
  • Address roadblocks quickly and adapt to contexts and missions.
  • Monitor progress toward outcomes with clear metrics and targets around processes.
  • A business led modular technology and data platform.

Getting everyone on the same page can be difficult during this process because every department is affected differently. This is why it’s so important to bring in an expert, someone with no bias towards a specific department, someone who knows the process of digital transformation. You need someone who can tell you when a system or process has to be updated before it can go digital, someone who can find middle ground in a place where it seems like there isn’t any. An expert can also provide you with a realistic timetable for completion. The reason digital transformation projects either don’t get done or only get partially done is due to lack of focus. With an expert on your side, who’s sole responsibility it is to make sure this project is done and is efficient, that focus doesn’t go anywhere. There’s a dedicated person or team making sure everything gets done according to plan.

Digital transformation is something that all businesses should be talking about, especially with many companies considering making certain positions permanently remote. Digital transformation will keep your business updated, keep the foundation solid, improve productivity and efficiency, and, most importantly, keep it secure. Whether you’re in the planning stage, in process, hit a snag or close to completion, this is something businesses need to do to stay relevant and competitive.

About the Author

Pieter VanIperen, Managing Partner of PWV Consultants, leads a boutique group of industry leaders and influencers from the digital tech, security and design industries that acts as trusted technical partners for many Fortune 500 companies, high-visibility startups, universities, defense agencies, and NGOs. He is a 20-year software engineering veteran, who founded or co-founder several companies. He acts as a trusted advisor and mentor to numerous early stage startups, and has held the titles of software and software security executive, consultant and professor. His expert consulting and advisory work spans several industries in finance, media, medical tech, and defense contracting. Has also authored the highly influential precursor HAZL (jADE) programming language.

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