Businesses that harness the power of digital are experiencing massive advantages, with growth and efficiency benchmarks often leaping by double- and even triple-digit advances. But while the attainment of digital clearly bears a lot of fruit, getting to that stage is proving to be very difficult. Only five percent of companies believe they fully realised their goal of becoming digital businesses.
Why is this happening? Greg McDonald, Sales Engineering Director at Dell EMC, has worked with customer companies of various sizes and at different stages of their digital projects. While attending the recent Dell EMC Forum, held in Johannesburg’s vibrant business hub Sandton, he addressed that very question: why are so many companies not getting digital right?
“Organisations are struggling with legacy in their data centres. Think about large corporations that have been around for many years. They have IT baggage that came along the way. That baggage has been one of the reasons why they haven’t been able to progress. When I talk about cloud-native workloads and digital transformation, this is about putting platforms down for customers that allow them to build the next wave of software, which is completely different from anything we’ve seen in the past.”
It's all about the people
Workforce enablement sits at the heart of this transition. Technology is no longer the sole domain of IT. Other parts of the business have started taking control of technology for their own development. When left without the right tools, people start looking elsewhere, leading to the phenomenon of shadow IT. Technology appeals to both established employees and newcomers to the workforce.
“If you aren’t ready to adopt the next wave of people coming to your organisation and help develop the applications they need, you may become irrelevant in the next couple of years. That’s a daunting task for CEOs to think about. To complicate matters for the CEO, they are also facing similar challenges in developing the next wave of application for their customers."
The truth is that IT transformation revitalises the tools that can be used, while security ensures those tools can be reliably placed in the hands of employees. This triad - modern IT platforms, secure access and a willing workforce - is the secret recipe for digital success. Neglecting any of the three is what often brings transformation to a halt. “Getting the three areas to work with each other is tricky, to say the least,” said Greg.
Don't go solo
“It’s not a journey that should be taken alone. I think companies underestimate the revolutionary nature of digital transformation and how much goes into making it happen. This is why Dell Technologies was created: to bring together all the right concepts and platforms in one place, so our customers can have conversations with a single source and as such create their own single voice,” he continued.
The details depend on the organisation and its culture. For some, it starts by understanding and embracing cloud. For others, the crucial steps come in training developers in new platform tools. But without synergy between employees (armed with skills and tools that drive change), IT (adopting new platforms and modernising legacy investments) and security (keep the crown jewels safe without hindering the workforce), digital transformation will fail.
It’s a difficult balance to strike, which explains why so few companies feel they truly succeed in being digital. But this revolution is still happening and many more companies are closing in on this new competitive landscape.