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By now the phrase "business transformation" must have been heard at least once by every channel partner in the UK as vendors sieze on the buzzword to try and appeal to customers looking to change their organisations to take advantage of what the cloud, IoT and real time data analytics can deliver.
But trying to work out just what transformation actually means in practice can be confusing and as a result some customers are sitting on their hands trying as they work out what to do.
Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has dubbed this problem 'innovation inertia' because firms do not know where to invest.
The HDS research found that 81% of firms were not set up for the digital age and three quarters of business leaders were not able to make informed decisions because there was a lack of clarity over the strategy.
There was also a recognition that some of the fleeter footed competition from born-in-the-cloud start-ups could catch them off guard.
“Technology plays an integral role in helping UK organisations transform to thrive in a digital economy, but only if there is consensus about which technologies are relevant to future growth and about the ability to adapt to these known priorities”. Said Richard Gadd, UK managing director, HDS.
“This isn’t about innovating for innovation’s sake, it’s about UK organisations having the ability to garner valuable business insights to make informed technology investments that will drive future growth and enable UK organisations to redefine business agility," he added.
The advice from HDS was to try to be selective in where to make investments and for customers to be realistic about what could be achieved.
Earlier this week Todd Thibodeaux, CEO at CompTIA, made similar remarks about the danger of users and channel partners expecting too much from a digital transformation project.
"This idea about transformation being a one stop thing is wrong it is a continuation. If ten is the best and one is the worsty then you start by going from 1 to 2 first and then move up to three. You don't go from 1 to 7 in one step because too many people are afraid. You need to show you can do it and then do it on your own channel business," he said.
The HDS research adds more depth to the picture of what is happening out in the market where there seems to be an acceptance for the need for change but not as much clarity around how to do it.
The warning that inevitably comes with any research like this is that time is ticking and continuing to be a victim of innovation inertia could cause some serious problems in the future.
"The pace of business change will never be this slow again, and to stay relevant for the long term, organisations need to know their business inside out so they can quickly capitalise on new revenue opportunities before their competition do," said Gadd at HDS.