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The hidden issues of digital transformation

By Shannon Williams
Fri 12 Aug 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

As organisations continue to drive transformation in the wake of massive change in the industry, CSC is warning them to be mindful of hidden challenges.

Sonia Eland, director, Strategic Alliance, Eco-system & Digital, CSC ANZ, say the way people interact with work, technology and society continues to change, but what most people don’t realise is that we are reaching a critical inflection point in the rate of that change. 

“This critical stage is creating a new digital economy in which different organisations will compete for consumers’ attention,” Eland says.

“As organisations digitise over the coming years, they’ll have to adapt not only to foreseeable challenges, such as the rise of artificial intelligence and automation but also to a host of hidden ones,” she says.

Eland says there are four hidden challenges to digital transformation:  1. Existing models versus re-imagining  The exponential increase in computer power and software is pushing organisations into a completely digitised and automated world, where it is accepted that existing models need to be revised substantially.

“What hasn’t been readily acknowledged is that the social consequences of this change will create the need for very different services to what we have today,” says Eland. 

“For example, the impact of autonomous vehicles foreshadows a steep decline in vehicle ownership, the ripple effect will be felt across many industries from the auto and parts manufacturers, through to others such as lenders, insurers, logistics and even government road services,” she explains. 

“Ask yourself what new products and services will be around, what companies will provide these services (your new competitors), who buys and who just rents?” 

Eland says the challenge organisations face is to think beyond the industry and business models that they’ve used for decades.

“Organisations must reimagine and be ready to adopt new models that appear as a result of ever-accelerating automation,” she says.  2. Siloed connections versus ubiquitous connectivity  “With the explosion of sensor, system and social data, IT networks often devolve to a state of reduced connectivity, rather than developing more and greater connections,” Eland says.

“Data silos have emerged- large repositories of isolated information that hinder creativity and collaboration,” she says.

Eland says organisations need to eliminate data siloes and instead promote ubiquitous connectivity, making data securely available wherever the business or customer needs it. 

“To shift from pervasive data silos to ubiquitous connectivity, organisations need to think creatively and consider both the available data, and data they can collect in the future,” Eland explains.

“A good first step for organisations is to think about the service they want to create, by reimagining their business,” she says.

“Amazing customer experiences will likely by assembled from many touch-points and curated in a concierge style service,” Eland adds.

“Brainstorm what could be possible if any data was immediately available. Then think about how to get that data or share that data,” she says. 3. Privacy versus data  According to Eland, people are more wary of sharing their private data. However, many are still willing to grant access to those companies they trust will provide a faster, more contextually relevant and convenient service – to receive an amazing experience each and every time.

This in turn means that more and more people are taking responsibility for their own personal data and how it can be collected, stored and accessed. 

“At the same time, vast amounts of money are being spent on collecting or buying the data necessary to provide better digital experiences, including new ‘banks’ for individuals to collect and store their data,” Eland says.

“Organisations need to consider how best to reconcile the expectations for real time contextual service delivery, but also for privacy.” 4. Plan-build-run versus plan-consume  The traditional plan-build-run model is built around a siloed IT domains and waterfall processes. In the DevOps platform era of IT, a Plan-Consume model is built for speed and optimisation. 

“IT professionals often struggle to organise the different components of their networks in a way that creates an efficient digital supply chain,” Eland says.

“It is difficult integrating older core mission-critical systems with modern applications. Overcoming this challenge means becoming a service-enabled enterprise that is frictionless and allows for the necessary integration with, and across platforms,” she says.

Eland says the plan-build-run siloed structure impedes this transformation. Yet most CIOs are reluctant to identify new IT roles and those that are no longer fit for purpose.

“They need people who can engage with their business leaders and external partners, to design and develop new customer experiences,” says Eland.

“They also need people who can optimise the consumption of IT.

“Delays here not impact the appropriate re-skilling of existing resources, but ultimately it slows down the overall digital transformation, as persistent IT silos perpetuate the inability to connect new digital apps to core business systems,” she says.

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