Digitalization has long ceased to be simply a buzzword or trend. It’s a revolution that began long ago and continues to gather pace. In fact, between 2016 and 2021, digital revenues are expected to rise from 16% to 37% of total business revenue. Even the public sector predicts their number of digital processes to increase from 42% to 77%. However, digitalization is impossible without proper planning and tools.
Why digitalization has to be done right
Competitors are advancing
If your competitors have access to cloud services and technology, such as advanced analytics and big data, and use it right, they’ll have a massive competitive advantage over you. Therefore, digitalization is a must in order to keep up with your fiercest rivals, or else you risk going out of business.
Startups are disrupting
Some of the most successful companies today are less than 10 years old. What they have in common is that they don't bring old legacy systems with them. That allows them to focus on leveraging the newest technology on the market. In contrast, established companies have to work with both innovative solutions and old systems, on which they rely 100% and which need to be maintained. The ensuing conflict between innovation and maintenance requires companies to spend more time, money and resources to achieve the same results as companies and competitors without legacy systems.
It affects the whole organization
Digitalization concerns the whole organization, not just the IT department. By starting from scratch and designing a new digital IT platform, it becomes much easier and faster to develop and add new products and applications that support different branches within an organization. On the other hand, within a legacy based IT platform, this would be more complex and it would take much more time.
IT needs to step up
IT departments often receive the blame for the lack of innovation in other divisions as these teams say it’s the job of IT to provide new solutions for them. Thus, whether they like it or not, IT is often responsible for technology for the whole organization and it’s their duty to present to the different managers and directors what opportunities they can gain from implementing new technology. In fact, merely pointing fingers on both sides can be the downfall of all departments, including IT, as this causes the firm to lag behind in the digital race and lose out to competitors.
The future is going to be digital
If you have a digital platform based on an architecture that has remained unchanged for the past five to ten years and you have no plans to update it, then you have a long way to go. For example, let's say you are about to develop or purchase a new application. There are dependencies between your new solution and your legacy CRM (in our world, everything that does not communicate through APIs is legacy). These dependencies include data collection and addition and much more. As a result, it’s not a wise option to bring your CRM down to test your new application. On the other hand, if you had started the digitalization on these legacy systems by building APIs or replacing them with new technology, then it would be a whole lot easier to deploy new applications and add functionalities to them.
How to manage the digitalization of your company
As digitalization requires proper strategies and tools, we believe that there must be a plan for changing the “legacy” infrastructure and applications at the same time as you develop your new functionalities. One way to accomplish that is to create flexible platforms instead of traditional fixed systems. Platforms provide organizations with a foundation, based on cloud technology, where business resources, whether internal, external or shared, can come together to create value. Here are a few tips on how to digitalize your business:
First, assess your assets and identify low hanging fruits. Then, learn how your applications work today and how they can be migrated to new and modern apps. Next, understand the power behind laws and regulations and how they can work to your advantage like such as GDPR compliance. Additionally, make sure you have the right talent. Perhaps the ninjas on the network and storage team are not the most suited to providing you with new thinking. Moreover, understand how innovation through technology is done. And finally, think platform: all new initiatives that have a need for technology must be placed in context.
For example, IoT projects are often driven from the business side. If you have several branches in your organization then it’s quite likely that multiple departments will have a need for an IoT solution. Hence, there is a good chance that you might end up with two or more solutions for the same problem. However, thinking platform, you’ll have one solution that provides each branch with what they need, while at the same time giving you significantly more control over the data and technology selected by your organization.
The digitalization of the business world is in full swing. Companies that haven’t started or haven’t been proactive about it, will be left behind. To avoid premature decisions or negative results, it’s crucial to plan carefully and select the right tools. By creating flexible platforms instead of traditional fixed systems, firms can prepare their businesses for the digital age and successfully complete their cloud journey.
Service Delivery Manager at Lumagate. He is passionate about inspiring businesses to take advantage of the current technology innovation from Microsoft with focus on their cloud platform, Azure.