Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
Read Full Bio >>

Gary Audin | August 25, 2017 |


Digital Transformation: Who's in Charge?

Digital Transformation: Who's in Charge? Digital transformation projects need speedy implementation, which often means bypassing IT.

Digital transformation projects need speedy implementation, which often means bypassing IT.

It's hard to avoid digital transformation today. Many organizations are embarking on projects in order to gain competitive advantages and boost bottom lines. While digital transformation initiatives are largely driven by the business side, it does bring into question what role IT should play. Should IT implement digital technologies, influence digital transformation decisions, or step aside?

With cloud services on the rise in many enterprises, it's not hard to envision scenarios in which IT gets bypassed while cloud services deliver digital transformation directly to business units.

Defining Digital Transformation
A CIO article sponsored by Dell EMC Services provides a couple of good definitions for digital transformation. A short definition is, "Digital Transformation is application of digital capabilities to processes, products, and assets to improve efficiency, enhance customer value, manage risk, and uncover new monetization opportunities."

But perhaps the longer definition proves to be a bit more useful:

"The coupling of granular, real-time data (e.g., smartphones, connected devices, smart appliances, wearables, mobile commerce, video surveillance) with modern technologies (e.g., cloud native apps, big data architectures, hyper-converged technologies, artificial intelligence, blockchain) to enhance products, processes, and business-decision making with customer, product and operational insights."

The first definition is a bit higher level, emphasizing the business goals previously mentioned, while the second makes it a bit easier to wrap our heads around which specific technologies play a role. Both definitions mean business disruption will occur if you want to be competitive.

New Technologies: Who Knows It?
When mobile communications first emerged, it was very disruptive. Organizations had to modify their businesses to deal with the realities of mobile users and customers. Before mobility, we had the Internet with all the online capabilities. Both mobility and the Internet took years to absorb. Now we have artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The question is, "Can IT control and deliver these new technologies rapidly?" IT staff needs to be trained and educated. Some of the training and education could just as easily be provided to the business unit, and not IT staff. The continued budget pressure for IT maintaining its operations leaves less and less funding for innovation.

Is IT too slow?
One of the most common complaints about IT is that it is too slow to deliver the services needed by the business units. There are reasons for this, such as ensuring the security and compliance with regulations and legislation. When a competitor decides to digitally transform their business, then the business unit has to respond ASAP.

The Cloud Accelerates Digital Transformation Progress
Cloud services are offering non-traditional solutions to business problems. Some cloud services perform analysis of the use of their products and services. These providers can change their solutions quickly to ensure they keep the loyalty of their present customers and obtain new ones.

The issue for the business unit is selecting the proper and reliable cloud service that satisfies its needs. Unfortunately the problem is that one cloud service does not meet all these requirements. This is one of the points explored in my previous blog, "How Do You Connect to the Cloud?"

Who Should be Responsible?
A good article on the question of digital transformation responsibility is, "Who takes responsibility for digital transformation?, " published in Computing, a U.K.-based publication. One significant hurdle to overcome is the fact that many IT staff members find it difficult to communicate technical issues to business unit leaders. If IT is overly simplistic in their explanations, the business unit thinks it is a relatively risk-free solution.

IT has to stop hiding behind acronyms and technical jargon. IT needs to explain digital transformation in a language the business unit can understand.

Another Computing article, "How IT can do more to educate the business about digital transformation," asked who should be the lead in digital transformation. The chart below demonstrates some interesting conclusions.

The largest majority of respondents in the survey (52%) thought that digital transformation should be a 50-50 split between the business unit and IT. Only 16% thought that IT has a clear view of how to implement digital transformation. In contrast, 13% thought it should be led by the business.


IT as Part of the Business Unit
When the business unit wants to take the lead for digital transformation, it may be a good idea for IT to place one of their staff within the business unit to create a liaison between the groups. Business units may think they know everything they need to know about digital transformation but there are experiences that IT has that are germane to a project. It is also important that IT become immersed in the business unit so they can understand what factors are driving digital transformation, how rapidly it needs to change, and what the competition is doing.

IT as a Digital Transformation Service
IT can create business unit services with a combination of on-premises and cloud technologies. If IT wants to continue its role, IT needs to be proactive and rapidly react to changes in the business units. It is up to IT to learn about the competition and provide tools and technologies that can help the business unit compete more effectively.

Digital transformation needs speedy implementation, thereby bypassing IT. IT has to learn to move quickly to implement the technologies. It is also important that business units understand that some of digital transformation projects may fail. That does not mean a failure in the normal sense. It means that they need to go back and look at what they wanted to do compared to what the competition is doing to ensure that the next project is successful.


August 29, 2018

Moving your voice services to the cloud introduces new challenges for 9-1-1 services. These include the need to serve multiple locations, and the increased mobility that comes with having a phone t

August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.