What Does Digital Transformation Mean for Your Business? Just ask IT


In this article Scott Lee, Office of the CTO at Workfront talks about how with technology taking center stage in the drive to achieve business transformation, IT teams are at the forefront of efforts to deliver new and improved customer and employee experiences.

In the brave new world of digital transformation, IT teams are key to achieving your long-term strategic objectives.

Businesses worldwide are spending more than ever on technologies to support transformation. According to researchers at IDC, worldwide spending on technologies and services that enable digital transformation is expected to reach $1.97 trillion in 2022.[1]

Now that COVID-19 has changed working life—life in general—for everyone, IT is at the center of the massive shift required to support remote workforces and enable business continuity. This is digital transformation on a grand scale—at its most urgent.

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What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation has become ubiquitous and its meaning blurred. For some, it is synonymous with online marketing, website optimization, and e-commerce. But its scope is far wider than that—it’s about applying the latest digital technologies to deliver business change and optimization.

Digital transformation can be thought of in three categories:

1) How a company presents itself to, and interacts with, the market—via websites, email campaigns, e-commerce, etc.

2) How a company operates—its workflows, collaboration, processes, etc.

3) How a company evolves—developing new products, experiences, operating models, branding, etc.

IT plays a key role in enabling all of this.

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Rethinking the Role of IT

IT teams understand the capabilities and potential of digital technologies, so they have a leading role to play in selecting and implementing the right tools to drive your organization forward. The expertise of IT teams also goes beyond technology into project management, executing against finite budgets and resources while delivering measurable outcomes in the midst of rapid digital evolution.

Today, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, IT’s priority is to ensure business continuity – putting disaster recovery plans into action to ensure complete operational continuity for every individual in the organization.

To deliver such a comprehensive transformation, IT teams need to rewire their thinking about their role and responsibilities. Transformation initially requires a change from within. IT needs to transform itself from being an operational support and infrastructure delivery function to being an agent of change for the entire organization. More than that, IT must take on the mantle of leadership—championing the change in their organizations.

Partners in Progress

But how can IT teams busy with day-to-day technical support and maintenance lead the digital transformation of your business? So much of the team’s time is taken up by firefighting, fixing problems, and responding to requests, making it hard to think strategically and look beyond immediate priorities.

Businesses that are succeeding in digital transformation ensure their IT people are surrounded by specialist partners that can support strategic planning, see the long-term consequences of actions and decisions, and help to implement solutions that deliver strategic objectives.

Joined-up Thinking

Successful digital transformation requires a comprehensive strategy, which unites every business unit and department in working towards common goals—enabling them to see how their work contributes to the whole.

However, in most businesses—especially larger multinational organizations—departments and teams often use different tools, software, and processes for facilitating, tracking and managing their work. The result is a mix of tools used across the enterprise that doesn’t necessarily integrate with each other so that data is siloed and there is limited visibility outside each department. It means leaders can’t quickly assess the status and progress of initiatives, making it impossible to accurately manage resources, align priorities across teams, and measure work.

The job of determining how these disparate groups are using their particular tools and technologies often falls to the IT department. They have the clearest idea about which tools are in place across the business, but they often have little visibility of how these tools are being used, and how effective they are.

Smarter Ways to Manage Work

It seems clear that integrating the technologies and tools used throughout an enterprise is vital to delivering any enterprise-wide transformation program. One way to achieve this level of integration and transparency is to implement an enterprise work management platform.

Work management software enables a company to centralize, track, and measure all work-related data through a single platform. Managers can view all project data in a single location, including tasks, resource allocations, and timelines. All stakeholders can view and update data through the platform, which in turn fosters better collaboration, effective resource allocation, and a shared sense of progress towards common goals.

In the federated working model, we are all having to adopt during the COVID-19 crisis, work management tools provide an essential support system, allowing everyone working from home to integrate their work, stay connected, and view work going on across the dispersed organization.

The most powerful work management platforms facilitate smart processes and automated workflows so information and tasks can flow across systems, enabling managers to determine whether the right people are working on the right tasks at the right time.

Tools to Support Digital Transformation

So how do work management platforms support your organization’s digital transformation? First, they enable you to connect your strategy to organizational plans for business units, departments, and even individuals. They enable you to plan and execute work in an agile way, giving your business the flexibility to adapt as market conditions change. The need for such flexibility has become starkly apparent recently. Work management solutions can support sudden shifts in working patterns, such as accommodating thousands of physically isolated individuals who need to continue delivering work despite a global lockdown.

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The best work management platforms enable work to be personalized to the different preferences of individuals and teams, as well as allowing tasks to be automated for greater speed and efficiency. Approval processes can be tracked and monitored from a central point, providing an all-important audit trail to ensure brand and regulatory compliance. Crucially, work management tools provide actionable intelligence derived from multiple integrated systems. They put the most up-to-date financial and other key performance data into decision-makers’ hands in real-time.

IT in the Spotlight

IT teams hold a unique position within most organizations, having daily interaction with managers and employees across all departments. They already have a big picture view of all digital tools deployed across the business, enabling them to ensure these tools are integrated into the central platform. As such, IT teams are ideally placed to implement work management platforms across an enterprise.

The current global situation is a painful reminder of the need for agility, resilience, and mobility in business. While COVID-19 will eventually dissipate as a threat, business models will inevitably change forever as a result of the crisis. There will be another pandemic, natural disaster, or crisis for businesses to cope with in the future. That means the way IT supports enterprises must change indefinitely. More than ever, IT must become leaders in the delivery of digital and business transformation.

Let us know your thoughts on how IT teams can help drive digital transformation in the post-COVID era, on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We would love to hear from you!