Caroline Quintanar
Caroline Quintanar 18 October 2023

Cloudbusting: Debunking the Myths of Digital Transformation

New technologies have been evolving the business landscape for years, and in 2023 one term has become ubiquitous — Digital Transformation. Organisations across the globe are striving to navigate the digital world, eager to harness its immense potential for growth, efficiency, and innovation.

The internet has become an integral part of people's lives, and consumers increasingly rely on online channels to find products and services.

A digital presence allows businesses, both small and large, to reach a global audience and be visible 24/7, regardless of their physical location. Not only are consumers expecting to see this, but with the online space so vast and so competitive in equal measure, it has never been more critical to stand out.

In fact, technology adoption will remain a key driver of business growth in the next five years. Over 85% of organisations identify increased adoption of new technologies and broadening digital access as the trends most likely to drive transformation in their organisation.

However, amidst the excitement surrounding this journey, a myriad of myths and misconceptions have emerged, clouding the true essence of digital transformation. By debunking some of the most common myths, we can draw a clear picture of how and why businesses benefit from laying out their digital maturity roadmap.

Digital Transformation is Costly and Disruptive

Digital transformation is not simply buying in a wave of new technology solutions to overhaul your IT infrastructure. It’s much more purposeful and can work no matter where your business is on its transformation journey.

Cloud migration is one fundamental way to easily digitise. Google offers some sound advice when outlining ways to integrate into its own Google Cloud platform. The tech giant says there are three types of migration: Lift and shift, improve and move, and remove and replace.

For example, for businesses starting out on their journey, lift and shift migration involves moving workloads from one environment to another with minor or no modifications.

It is suitable when the workload can operate as-is in the target environment. In its simplest form, this could be moving a CRM database from an on-premises server to a digital cloud solution and can be achieved in a matter of weeks or months.

This initial step forward is often the easiest and least time consuming as it requires minimal refactoring (disruption) and upskilling as it supports existing tools and off-the-shelf software.

That said, regardless of where a business sees itself on its journey, to facilitate effective implementation, quality data is critical alongside clear objectives to avoid unnecessary costly solutions.

This is where a long-term migration plan, that aligns with business strategies for cost management, will severely reduce disruption and be highly focused on the benefits that offer real value.

Within this plan, data optimisation should be a key consideration to boost ROI. Cloud software can be implemented in this instance to help unify data, which immediately enables personalised digital interactions with customers, flexible campaigns and paves the way for scalability.

By Focusing on Technology, We’ll Lose Sight of Our People

It’s a common misconception that the road to digital maturity means focusing on technology alone, as without human intelligence and expertise, technology will not be utilised effectively.

A growth mindset that matches business objectives can be hugely beneficial in a developing workplace, and leadership teams encouraging evolution and reinforcing the benefits of digital maturation are likely to see teams buying into their values. However, it’s just as important to acknowledge fear of change and reassure those uncomfortable with it.

As with any kind of change management, business leaders need a considered and methodical approach to people management during digital transformation; focusing on the impact on those involved.

If senior leaders can successfully focus on involving employees at each stage of digital transformation, by educating and motivating their teams, new processes and technology will be championed by employees and further support the efficiencies resulting from technological development.

Ultimately, the Overall Time and Money Invested Isn’t Worth the Benefits

Resisting change and the required investment in new technologies will ultimately hold businesses back and so this concern could be seen as short-sighted — equivalent to sticking one’s head in the sand.

In fact, increasingly businesses are recognising this and placing more importance on AI and big data within their skills strategies and report increased investment (9%) towards rescaling efforts in this area.

This is fundamental as new technology will ultimately require a new set of skills and recognising the critical technology in which to invest, such as cloud migration, will facilitate advancement into emerging tools like artificial intelligence (AI).

Investing in the foundations of digital maturity, such as team skills and emerging technology, not only sets businesses up for future growth, but also helps to overcome current performance challenges — particularly for those required to adapt and respond to fluctuating demand.

One supermarket witnessed the pitfalls of legacy systems, seriously overestimating the number of turkeys required for the Christmas period, based on skewed and manually processed stock data. The result was inflated expectations of consumer demand and wastage of produce and profits.

This unfortunate situation could have been avoided if the data processing was more robust, with a cloud solution providing live data to prevent over-ordering and indicating the positive sustainability impact that cloud-based technology can have on reducing unnecessary wastage.

As the research clearly demonstrates, your business will quickly lose competitiveness without shrewd investment — if you don’t do it, your competitors will. This investment needs to be viewed as a stepping stone to more efficient practices and potential for business growth.

The benefits of investment in digital transformation are far-reaching when viewed through the prism of long-term thinking, scalability, and overall business growth.

It’s worth keeping in mind this quote from 1977 by Ken Olsen, the well-known engineer and tech innovator: “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

While this is now a considerably outdated opinion, it demonstrates the need to have a growth mindset, especially when it comes to introducing new technology and businesses should be thinking beyond on-premises servers as cloud computing becomes imperative for business progression.

While understanding the process of transformation doesn’t make the road to digital maturity any shorter, it does create a clear roadmap of the journey, which is transparent and manageable for staff, and focussed on the efficient processes, and appropriate platforms to scale up and stay future proof.

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