Big bang not the way to deliver digital transformation

Managed services player Claranet has looked into the market and exposed a series of challenges for those trying to pitch digital transformation

Digital transformation might well be the must use phrase in the industry at the moment but there are plenty of reasons why the two words cause headaches for customers.

Although the hype around the concept means that awareness of the need to transform a business is high there are plenty of reasons why many customers have yet to take the plunge.

Most of them can be solved by working with the channel but the warning from managed services player Claranet is that they will not be completely dealt with unless the approach is right.

The firm has undertaken research to get a handle on what is happening in the market and discovered not only a number of barriers to entry but also raised the prospect of real problems ahead if users failed to understand what the process involved.

The report – Beyond Digital Transformation: Reality check for European IT and Digital leaders – from Claranet indicated that a lack of skills, time and a lack of support from senior management were all problems for those trying to change their businesses.

Just half said that their IT departments were stuck in reactive mode and the current applications they were wrestling with were already taking up a lot of time.

But there were also some suggestions that the pressure to 'transform' a business was also leading to some customers being too ambitious.

“Business and IT leaders are facing ever-increasing amounts of pressure to transform their operations. Greater levels of competition, heightening customer demands and decreasing tolerance for technology faults and inflexible IT systems, are all creating new imperatives for change. It should come as little surprise that so many businesses have bought into the concept of ‘digital transformation’," said Michel Robert, UK managing director at Claranet.

“But for most, that change will take time to implement, and while the increasingly-common term digital transformation conjures up images of overnight metamorphosis, this research confirms that the picture, especially for mid-market organisations, is much more complicated," he added.

He warned against a 'lift and shift' approach to the cloud and the mistakes that could happen from taking a 'big bang' approach.

Claranet's advice

The managed services player has some advice for those resellers helping customers with digital transformation:

* Check if applications ate cloud ready or need to be re-engineered
* The application will dictate the approach that needs to be taken
* Work with business leaders to devise a strategy that is more than just 'lift and shift'

“The term digital transformation is a misnomer, and while that might be a matter of semantics, the risk is that it widens the gap between IT and the rest of the business; the latter expecting overnight change and the former contending with increasing infrastructure complexity, skills shortages and cost-cutting pressures. This creates a real need for strong leadership to ensure IT and Digital projects have a measurable impact on improving customer experience and uniting the business to improve performance,” Robert said.

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