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Digital transformation: 5 ways it will affect your business IT strategy

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Digital transformation is much more than an issue for the IT department. Smart business decision makers recognise that the successful modern organisation uses technology to make a difference.

Such is the power of digital transformation that new market entrants are able to take advantage of disruptive innovation to create great business models. Think of the power of start-ups, such as Uber and Airbnb – unencumbered by legacy technology, these fast-moving firms have shaken up entire sectors.

The message for business decision makers is engage with digital disruption or risk being disrupted. So, how can executives embrace this opportunity? There are five key ways digital transformation is changing your business strategy.

1. Your digital strategy is now your business strategy

Data transformation is for allBusinesses must find a way to cope with change. As the power of digital technologies – such as cloud, big data and convergence – took hold, organisations started to create standalone digital strategies. Yet this coping strategy, which often stood separate to wider business aims, already looks out-of-date.

The risk of being left behind means executives are now placing technology at the core of business decisions. Researcher IDC says two-thirds of chief executives will have digital transformation at the centre of their firm’s corporate strategy by the end of 2016. In short, the digital and business strategy is one and the same.

2. Your business needs a converged platform to transform

Businesses must use digital technology to respond quickly to fast-changing market and customer demands. Research suggests convergence provides the platform for change. These converged platforms include integrated bundles of hardware and software components grouped into a single optimised package.

IDC’s global Future-Ready Enterprise Study suggests business with a converged IT infrastructure benefit in a number of ways, including lower operating costs (45 per cent), greater IT staff productivity (44 per cent), and improved business agility (41%). A business that is ready for digital strategy is agile and flexible.

 3. Your line-of-business executives use the cloud to push change

As digital transformation is pushed to the centre of business strategy, IDC expects a big shift of IT budget from the CIO to board-level decision makers. Ten per cent of CIOs say more than half of technology spending is now controlled outside IT, reports recruitment specialist Harvey Nash and consultant KPMG.

The cloud will be the service that helps your business decentralise IT procurement. With a converged, secure and well-governed platform, your IT team will be confident to allow the business to make its own technology purchasing decisions. Such an on-demand business is always ready for change.

4. Your organisation turns big data into actionable insight

Big data might be a hyped concept but the business reality behind the concept is crucial to successful digital disruption. IDC says more than half (55 per cent) of large enterprises will have committed to becoming information-driven companies by 2017.

Leading firms use data scientists and analytical tools to delve into structured and unstructured sources. IDC says a preparedness to embrace big data is the hallmark of a future-ready firm. The researcher says 62 per cent of successful firms cite a better ability to predict outcomes as a benefit of analytics.

5. Your employees are ready to exploit disruptive innovation

IT-enabled change never stops. An investment in convergence, cloud and big data is just the first step in a continuing journey towards successful digital transformation. Your business must always be ready for what comes next.

IDC points, for example, to the importance of customer experience, connectivity and automation. As new disruptive innovation bombards your organisation, senior decision makers must view digital transformation and business change as inexorably linked. Those that do will retain a competitive advantage.

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References:

The digital transformation futurescape 2016 web cast.

The slides from the web cast: http://event.lvl3.on24.com/event/11/17/87/9/rt/1/documents/resourceList1453897948331/digital_transformation_futurescape_webcast_deck_v5.pdf

Converged spotlight: http://i.dell.com/sites/doccontent/shared-content/data-sheets/en/Documents/IDC_Spotlight_FRE_Converged.pdf

Cloud spotlight: http://i.dell.com/sites/doccontent/shared-content/data-sheets/en/Documents/IDC_Spotlight_FRE_Cloud.pdf

Harvey Nash and KPMG research: http://www.hnkpmgciosurvey.com

Big data spotlight: http://i.dell.com/sites/doccontent/shared-content/data-sheets/en/Documents/IDC_Spotlight_FRE_BigData.pdf

 

Mark Samuels

Mark Samuels

Mark Samuels is a business journalist specialising in IT leadership issues. Formerly editor at CIO Connect and features editor of Computing, he has written for various organisations, including the Economist Intelligence Unit, Guardian Government Computing and Times Higher Education. Mark is also a contributor for CloudPro, ZDNetUK, TechRepublic, ITPro, Computer Weekly, CBR, Financial Director, Accountancy Age, Educause, Inform and CIONET. Mark has extensive experience in writing on the topic of how CIO’s use and adopt technology in business.

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