Digital Transformation Challenges Exposed

Digital transformation is not just technology, not just a tool, and not just an application. It’s a change in how you do business. Because of this, digital transformation projects have many challenges, regardless of their importance to the organization that plans to embark on this path.
What Does the Market Say?
The challenges facing those embarking on digital transformation projects are described in Webtorials’ “2019 Digital Transformation Market Trends Report,” based on responses from members of the Webtorials community in the U.S, India, Canada, the U.K., China, and 30 other countries. The respondent companies represent a large group of industries and a wide range of company sizes. The graphics in this blog are from the report.
Budget Comes First
The below graphic from the report demonstrates that budget commitment is the major challenge with digital transformation. The problem with budgeting for digital transformation is that most organizations are entering new territory and will have difficulty determining what to spend and where to spend it. Besides the budget numbers, there’s the difficulty of the commitment to continue to spend the budget during the project. Business influences may cause some budget reduction, which then in turn can significantly undermine digital transformation projects.
C-Level Support and Buy-In
Obtaining a budget is not enough. A successful digital transformation initiative will require C-level executive support. Without the C-level support, the commitment could be changed at any time. It’s also important that the organizations affected by digital transformation buy in to the project. What this means is that both C-level and the organizations affected must be well-educated and understand the purposes and benefits of the digital transformation.
It’s important that everyone understand that such a project will probably not have any specific end date. As the market, customer behavior, and technology evolve and change, digital transformation projects will have to respond to those changes to ensure that efforts continue to produce success.
Do You Need Help?
The skills, resources, and expertise required for successful digital transformation will vary considerably. The smaller the organization, the more limited the resources, skills, and expertise available. The Webtorials survey asked respondents whether or not significant outside support would help in their company’s project. Results showed that one-third of the respondents felt that they could accomplish the project without a lot of help from outside sources. However, when you look at the chart below, we discover that the confidence level about internal support is not that high.
Most of the respondents indicated that they are looking for outside help with these projects. Therefore, any budget and commitment should include funds for outside support. What may be difficult is locating the right kind of support for your organization size and industry. More business-oriented support would help in generating the commitment and budget necessary for the successful project.
Is Your Infrastructure Ready?
A ready infrastructure will mean more bandwidth to support the functions of digital transformation. However, bandwidth is not enough. This is where the reliability and availability of your infrastructure becomes extremely important. The more you depend on the infrastructure, the more you depend on its high level of availability.
What may be a difficult effort, however, is when you start analyzing the anticipated traffic requirements. You will have to speculate what the traffic effect may be. If you’re very successful, digital transformation can produce more traffic than you can handle, thereby negatively affecting the customer experience. You also have to look at the infrastructure and see how you can phase-in improvements prior to the initiation of digital transformation projects.
Where to Invest
The technology investment that survey respondents identified as the most important for the business to support was cloud migration for IT functions. This was followed by improved security. The third element that respondents identified as important to support digital transformation -- data analytics, artificial intelligence, and big data -- are especially vital, because it’s these technologies that help you determine whether the digital transformation projects are delivering what you invested in.
The fourth area deals with mobility, collaboration, and unified communications. This should include document sharing and online project management. I believe this is a very important element, because it will help in the productivity of both internal users and external customers.
Voice-oriented technologies were on the downturn until recently. But the voice-powered enterprise is increasing in popularity today, especially with the operation of omnichannel contact centers that blend the use of contact center personnel and websites.
It’s very important that those embarking on digital transformation also include in their budget a number of tools for measuring the operation, effectiveness, and success of digital transformation. The last two items on the above list -- software defined networks and network upgrades -- are of obvious importance. They improve performance and efficiency. But they alone will not make a digital transformation project successful.
Learn more about digital transformation at Enterprise Connect later this month. Join me for my session, “Digital Transformation Metrics,” where we’ll be diving deeper into how you can track the progress of your digital transformation projects and measure your success. The session takes place on the Expo floor, in EC Theater 2200, at 5:40 p.m. on Monday, March 18. I hope to see you there!
If you haven’t gotten your pass yet for Enterprise Connect, coming to the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Fla., March 18 to 21, there’s still time! Register now to save on your conference pass over on-site pricing, or get a free Expo Plus pass! No Jitter readers can save an extra $200 by using the code NJPOSTS at checkout.