In the post-pandemic world, digital transformation is not just a competitive differentiator and more of a necessity.
By Sumit Kumar Sharma, enterprise architect and head of advisory services at In2IT
However, digital transformation is not just about implementing innovative tools and technology – the workforce itself needs to adapt to a new way of working. We are moving toward augmented environments that combine both a human and a digital workforce, where humans should be focused more on innovation, while digital workforce tools handle the multitude of repetitive tasks that can easily be automated.
Data as the foundation
Digital transformation has become a buzzword with many different definitions and interpretations, but at its heart, it is about implementing technologies such as cloud platforms alongside next-generation solutions like artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as hyper automation and advanced analytics. Data management thus becomes critical, as all of these various technologies generate vast volumes of data that need to be maintained, secured, mined and analysed in line with various data privacy laws.
The availability, veracity and quality of data directly impacts data models and analytical ability, which in turn are at the heart of digital transformation initiatives. However, while technology is the foundation of transformation, the workforce itself is potentially where the biggest change needs to take place. As we move toward a more self-service, unified working environment, processes and business models must adapt, which requires significant change on the human side.
A new world of work
Digital transformation ushers in an entirely new way of working, where many old roles and responsibilities will become redundant. Automation will take care of many repetitive processes, and even certain tasks like note-taking and minutes of meetings. However, new roles will be created as the potential of new technology is realised – many of which we cannot even fathom as yet. It has become critical to develop a mindset of constant and continuous learning, because humans will need to cross-skill, upskill and reskill over and over again to enable us to take on the jobs that will be created.
There is a skills paradigm shift that needs to take place, and organisational change management must adapt to suit. While this may seem negative, the reality is that this sort of change happens with every industrial revolution, and often brings with it many benefits. In this case, a digitally transformed world means greater work-life balance and less time spent commuting, because it frees people to work from anywhere and enables organisations to tap into a global workforce. With new and innovative ways of working, operational costs are reduced and employees can handle exceptions while the digital workforce takes care of the majority of tasks. This means people can be more productive and focused.
A technology partner has become vital in helping businesses reshape themselves based on what the digital revolution and disruptive technology can do. With right digital technology partner, organisation can save time and efforts.
The cart before the horse
Traditionally, most of the technology initiatives are directed by business requirements and processes of given organisation. It was often recommended to customise the solution as per the business. But digital transformation provides not just solution, but also lot of opportunities to execute the same businesses in different ways. With the potential for next-generation technologies beginning to be explored, we need to put the cart before the horse. In other words, rather than implementing technology in traditional ways based on existing business models and processes, we need to start rethinking business processes based on how digital transformation can best be used to change, improve and innovate business.
When it comes to effective digital transformation, it is imperative to develop a digital strategy first. If the strategy is not clear, organisations often lose sight of the end goal, because transformation is so broad that it effectively reinvents the whole enterprise. In addition, a complete shift in the way we think has become critical. A good digital strategy should not limit to the implementation of digital technology, but also provide direction how to transform business as well to become is digital company in true sense.