Digital transformation is a journey not a destination, and you need to travel with the right people


Digital transformation is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. It has become a major driving force across all areas of an organisation. Innovative tools such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation are making waves across industries, while models of technology consumption are rapidly changing with the increasing use of Cloud. 

Our latest Advanced’s Annual Trends Survey 2019/20 explores the state of digital transformation for over 1000 UK business professionals. 20 per cent of respondents agreed that one of the biggest barriers to modernising processes or systems is due to lack of skills. Gaps in understanding and a lack of forward-thinking by some IT specialists is holding many organisations back from truly embracing digital. Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents agreed that the biggest barrier to modernising processes or systems is cost. Disruption to staff’s day-to-day productivity trails behind at 27 per cent, followed by management being unconvinced by the recommended investment in new technology (25 per cent).

These barriers clearly need to be addressed. Otherwise, organisations will continue to be deterred from transforming. The reality is that it is more expensive not to invest in modern systems, as the dependence on ageing technology and legacy applications creates problems as well as unnecessary, and often significant, cost.

Digitising is a continuous process. The rapid changes we have seen in technology are not going to slow down any time soon. Organisations need to keep up with the changes, particularly as their own customers are increasingly expecting technology to be part of their normal experience. Citizens are becoming used to the ‘anytime, anywhere, on any device’ benefits of digitally provided services. Organisations need to meet those expectations to continue to add value to society, be part of a smarter state and ultimately succeed. 

It is important to engage with digitisation intelligently. Legacy technology, and the approaches used when that technology was adopted, need to evolve. Most legacy systems were built to directly support the business activity in the moment, by experts of the time. When problems arose, workarounds were created and a complex IT estate grew. A rationalisation process needs to take place, converging and modernising the existing technology to create a simplified environment that is easy to manage, maintain and develop. 

Experts who are also experienced in delivering change management must help drive this simplification. As defined by the globally-recognised ITIL best practice framework, change management “guides an organisation to optimise the use of resources, business process, budget allocation or other modes of operation, by making significant changes to them”. Furthermore, “every change done should be a controlled change”, i.e. the organisation’s management should approve it (https://www.certguidance.com/change-management-itil/). Organisations often need specialist, external IT expertise to suggest these changes, support their approval and implement them fully. 

Such transformations ought to include an educational element. There should be a ‘duty of care’ included that means your teams will be given the knowledge and confidence to continue to adopt and adapt to technology changes. These changes will continue to take place along your digital transformation journey. People have to evolve as well as technology.  A sharing of knowledge should be part of the implementation and transformations, taking place in sensible, strategic stages. Changes need to be made to culture, structures and processes – as well as computing, servers and platforms. 

To achieve the potential that digital transformation offers, many organisations are turning to support from technology-agnostic experts. These experts can help manage the unique requirements of their digital transformation journey and ensure it stays on track and delivers. An IT services supplier with the right capabilities, customer references and sector-specific understanding becomes an invaluable strategic partner. They will meet your organisation where it is technically and culturally today, before carefully executing a forward-thinking digital strategy that delivers – while minimising disruption to your day-to-day operations. Ultimately, IT is no longer just a bill you pay for keeping the lights on, it becomes a strategic investment.

Advanced has taken this exact approach with numerous organisations and helped them to be successful. We understand the intricacies of different industries and want to get to know your organisation well enough to help build a strategy that meets your specific requirements. To find out more about how we can partner with you and support your digital transformation journey, visit our stand at Public Sector Executive ICT.