Overcoming Obstacles in Digital Transformation

  • September 30, 2017

    Overcoming Obstacles in Digital Transformation

    One of the key drivers of competitiveness is technological development. This phenomenon isn’t unique to the 21st century. As the economy adopts innovation that helps increase productivity, businesses that fall behind often meet their demise. IT professionals are calling the current technological rebirth, “Digital Transformation.”

    Digital Transformations involve the espousal of a suite of technologies that will drive efficiencies within a company. Less digitally robust organizations tend to focus on one new technology or feature at a time. The most ubiquitous digital topics in the business landscape today include artificial intelligence or machine learning, internet of things or IoT, cybersecurity and augmented reality. Companies driving digital transformations today look to leverage some of these technologies to help enhance visibility and allow employees to focus on other strategic aspects of their business.

    IFS AB, a Swedish enterprise software company, recently published a survey on the global perspective of digital change. The survey covers a spectrum of perception topics from status of digital maturity to barriers in digital transformation to areas with the greatest talent gaps.

    Digital Maturity

    Of those surveyed, 50% feel their organization lies in an enabled state on the digital maturity spectrum. According to IFS, enabled means an organization’s business and IT goals align but lacks focus on the disruptive potential of digital initiatives. About 24% feel they exist in an enhanced state where IT delivers digitally advanced products regularly. Only 7% believe their organizations are optimized where digital transformation remains a top priority at the executive level and their company spearheads all initiatives with the latest disruptive technologies. This piece of the survey reveals there lies a willingness for digital change and that most organizations prioritize it. However, few truly execute to fully achieve digital maturity.

    Overcoming Barriers

    What holds organizations back in digital transformations? The IFS survey reveals the greatest barrier is aversion to change at 43%. Combined, the greatest barriers in digital transformation are internal. Lack of standard processes at (30%) and absence of the right organizational and governance models (38%). Other external factors include security threats (39%) and legislation and compliance at (25%). Our organizations often get in the way of themselves when it comes to technological initiatives.

    Talent Implications

    We cannot discuss the challenges and implications of digital transformations without addressing talent. The greatest impact of digital disruption, according to the survey, is upskilling of existing talent. In order to successfully implement new technologies, the existing workforce must understand how to deploy them and leverage them to enhance their work. Companies must also consider talent gaps in the hiring process. The greatest talent gaps threatening companies today include business intelligence and cybersecurity followed closely by AI and big data analytics.