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What is blocking your digital transformation initiative’s progress?

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Digital transformation is a buzzword in the IT-sphere today, with most organizations opting for and undergoing digitization, digitalization, and subsequently, digital transformation. However, even though digital transformation sports many benefits and is perceived as an easy to adopt strategy, enterprises may encounter barriers to the process.

As a technocrat, I wanted to know what these barriers were, given that digital transformation is meant to ease tasks and should inherently be easy to incorporate into an enterprise’s functions.

As I dug deeper, I understood that the main barriers to digital transformation are not related to technology but instead are of human origin.

Having a clear road map and effective implementation of the latest tech is only part of the solution, and CIOs need to consider the human factor that plays a massive role.

Studies show that traditional organizations enjoying success and with an inflated workforce with low employee turnover strongly resist any kind of change, let alone a change of the magnitude that digital transformation facilitates. As part of the IT ecosystem, you already know the benefits that digital transformation ushers in, and yet if the human factor is left unattended to, an organization may lose value amongst its people, thus losing its greatest strength.

Don’t fret. The solution to this catch 22 is actually quite simple.

Digital transformation lays heavy emphasis on technology, and the workforce of the enterprise may feel redundant and less valued. The most effective method to ensure continued productivity with the enterprise’s human resources working in tandem with its tech capabilities is to come up with an appropriate (and well-publicized) plan that manages the following human barriers-

1. Averse to experimentation

Most enterprises are averse to experimentation. According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, 53% of the surveyed executives stated that this pervasive dislike for the question “What if” is a massive barrier to their digital transformation initiatives’ success.

Given that digital innovations are opening up new business opportunities for enterprises every day, enterprises need to adapt to the constant evolution that the market experiences. ‘Sticking to what I Know’ might not be as relevant a stance for businesses as it once was, and enterprises need to be willing to try something new if they wish to remain competitive in a ‘digital-first’ world.

2.Legacy systems

There are many examples of enterprises that are extremely comfortable with their obsolete legacy systems. Employees don’t mind keying in commands a few extra times. The enterprise (even though capable of a greater output) is entirely satisfied with simply trucking-along, making just enough to termed profitable.

Now I do not condemn such a perspective. If an enterprise likes cruising at 20MPH, then so be it. My only bone of contention is that pretty soon, its competitors who were once behind it are going to whiz past, leaving it in their dust. If an enterprise desires to maintain business continuity and profitability, digital transformation is imperative.

Digital transformation incorporates a significant overhaul in the way the enterprise works. Legacy systems are a blocker that may cost an enterprise its reputation and its business.

3.Inability to break silos 

In enterprises where teams/departments work in silos competing for resources and funding, with low to no communication, even the best efforts towards digital transformation will be wasted. A siloed organizational structure is now a thing of the past, and any enterprise continuing with such practices, is jeopardizing its profits and even its existence.

CIOs looking to digitally transform their business and reap the many benefits digital transformation offers should ensure that their teams work collaboratively as components of a cohesive whole that spans the enterprise’s entire breath.

4.Inadequate collaboration between IT and other departments

Tech assets and dedicated IT teams are an intrinsic part of every enterprise. In a world where 99% of business processes are either driven by or supported by technology, an enterprise’s IT department should remain in constant contact with all other departments facilitated through efficient (and preferably multiple) modes of communication. A recent survey found that 49% of CIOs surveyed stated that inadequate collaboration was an enormous roadblock on the path to digital transformation.

An ideal scenario would be to ensure that the various teams, departments, roles, etc., in their business are amply interlinked and supported by an efficient IT department.

5.Talent deficit

As stated by a recent survey, two-thirds of CIOs and IT decision-makers said that an IT delivery gap was the reason why they were unable to deliver their designated digital project. A talent deficit and a lack of aligned skills translate into near-insurmountable hurdles on the path of effective digital transformation.

Given the tech ecosystem’s constant evolutionary flux, enterprises need to prioritize talent acquisition and bring in the right resources to fill the enterprise’s existing skill gap that also hurts the enterprise’s revenue.

6.Budget constraints

Digital transformation costs cold, hard coin. Even though its benefits, resulting in profits and bragging rights, outweigh the investment, many enterprises feel the upfront cost is a little too much. To counter this sentiment, according to a report by IDC, digital transformation spends are now exceeding 2 Trillion in 2021. This means that numerous businesses worldwide are awakening to the potential of digitally transformed processes and the ROI they bring.

Enterprises should evaluate whether the digital projects they have on the table are appropriately funded because cheap is not always better.

7.Inadequate Cybersecurity

Cybertheft is a major threat that enterprises face in today’s age. For an effective and secure digital transformation, enterprises need to amp up their cybersecurity assets and keep them aligned to their digital transformation initiatives’ scale and scope.

As enterprises become increasingly reliant on technology, a rich arsenal of cybersecurity assets has become a must-have for all digital transformation projects.

Wrapping up-

As we cruise into 2021, technology has taken center-stage in C-suites’ strategy list across the globe. Enterprises have made a rush to embrace and leverage their customers’ digital presence, be it B2B or B2C, to gain a competitive edge. But what needs to be understood is that digital transformation does not just happen in terms of software and hardware upgrades in the office but also in terms of the enterprise’s culture.

Enterprises that are open to changing not just their technology but also the mentality of their teams will benefit most from digital transformation. In summation, digital transformation done well can transform a bicycle into a formula-one vehicle, and digital transformation done badly gives just a slightly faster bicycle.

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