Three ways to master digital transformation

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Digital transformation has never been more important than it is today. IT leaders no longer consider it a competitive advantage, but a necessity in order keep up with the expanding technology landscape as advancements in AI, machine learning, IoT, BYOD and big data/analytics become mainstream.

A fundamental aspect of this transformation begins with an organization’s adoption and migration to the cloud. Gartner predicts the worldwide public cloud services market will grow 18 percent in 2017 to $246.8 billion, up from $209.2 billion in 2016 – indicating increased public cloud use in the coming months to help support digital transformation efforts.

While the entire IT industry agrees that transformation is a business need, many IT leaders and managers are left strategizing the best approach for digital transformation success. For many organizations, the goal of transformation and moving IT from one state to another — from reactive and inflexible to responsive and adaptive – is daunting.

More importantly, it is no small task, as according to 451 Research, nearly 80 percent of organizations reported their IT environments required moderate or significant levels of transformation to meet digital business requirements in the coming years.

While every organization has a different strategy for their digital transformation roadmap, here are three areas IT leaders should prioritize to revolutionize their IT systems to remain competitive, improve efficiency and increase profitability.

Be Cloud First

Cloud use is a foundational element to enabling digital transformation and ensuring an organization meets evolving business and operational requirements. In fact, according to research from Forrester and Accenture, driving forces for widespread cloud adoption include profitability, customer satisfaction and increased speed-to-market.

While some legacy technologies are slower to adopt, even ERP systems will inevitably be in the cloud. However, migrating to the cloud is much more complex than just moving apps to the cloud or getting out of the data center. For those organizations that have yet to migrate, there remains uncertainty about the best (or most realistic) path as they continue their digital transformation.

While public clouds offer efficiency and affordability, private clouds offer security and control, a combination of public and private clouds (hybrid) often provides more flexibility to make decisions as data demands and business and IT requirements change. Hybrid IT simplifies the management of a mixed environment, offering greater automation and visibility into an organization’s resources.

Additionally, enlisting the help of a third party, (such as a cloud provider, Managed Service Provider (MSP) or Infrastructure as a Service provider (IaaS)) can help facilitate the adoption of a hybrid implementation.

Budget for the Future

Organizations need to plan and budget for their organization’s digital transformation journey. According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.5 trillion in 2017, a 2.4 percent increase from 2016. With all the new technologies and solutions that digital transformation presents, companies are evaluating their IT spend often, and according to research from TriCore Solutions and Researchscape, 91 percent think IT spending needs to be re-evaluated again in the next year.

As the need to digitize becomes an industry standard, organizations must think strategically about their organization’s budget for increased spending year-over-year. Establish a budget and a timeline. Build a plan with the intention of starting small and working toward larger goals by laying the groundwork for them along the way.

To save on cost, organizations should consider transitioning to an outsourced model where typical savings should be at least 30 percent and leverage the savings to invest in resources and services to being their digital transformation. Additionally, organizations should consider building a deep IT bench of partners to help to ensure the transformation progress from cloud deployment to management goes smoothly.

Develop a Sophisticated Security Strategy

In today’s digital age, cyber threats seemingly grow in number and sophistication. In fact, breaches have increased by 29 percent compared to 2016. As IT leaders consider a digital transformation, they must consider an effective IT security strategy.

With technologies like cloud and IoT devices increasing the attack surface, it’s easy for organizations to forget about the security of their legacy enterprise systems. But this oversight can leave gaps and open up organizations to more security risks. Organizations must have experts to help identify the most important threats and effectively preventing them. If an organization does not have an in-house expert, they should consider working with a provider like an MSPs, to help manage emerging threats on an ongoing basis.

Digital transformation is disrupting the way organizations operate not only within their own IT departments, but also how they service customers, both internal and external. While digital transformation doesn’t have a single, definite endpoint, continuing to understand the challenges and opportunities, and partnering with the right people will help organizations efficiently leverage the many benefits associated with the tomorrow’s digital age.

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