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Where should you start on your digital transformation journey?

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Randy Potter Chief Architect, Capgemini North America
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Kevin Wornham Senior Manager, Enterprise Architecture, Capgemini North America
Technology transformation pathway
 

Since the start of the pandemic, companies have been feeling the pressure to upgrade their technology capabilities. For some, it was a forced pivot, such as moving to an online ordering model or shifting the workforce to remote working capabilities. Many organizations that underwent initial digital transformations when the pandemic began have now identified additional areas to address.

Others see a clear need for digital transformation but haven't taken the plunge.

Regardless of your situation, the reality is that many businesses now rely more than ever on connectivity to support their operations. Technology transformation is a big step. Organizations can see where they want to go—improved efficiencies, increased productivity, and reduced costs, to name a few—and some companies may even have a plan for how to get there.

But when such a large decision and complex undertaking lie ahead, many may not know where to begin. Here's how to get started.

Ask these questions

In the early stages, it’s crucial to ask the right questions. These include:

  • How urgently does the digital transformation need to be addressed?
  • What would be the business value gained by transforming an application, and how quickly would a return on investment be seen?

You'll also face resource and budget constraints, which likely create a multi-year journey for your organization's transformation. How will that be prioritized against other time-sensitive projects?

  • Will the existing application be able to continue to meet the business's needs while it is being replaced?
  • What could go wrong if you make the transformation, and what could go wrong if you hold off?

When starting on a new technology transformation journey, here are three areas to focus on. 

Mitigate risk

It's important for your transformation to go as smoothly as possible. When organizations need to deal with surprises, address major incidents, or run crash remediation programs, it not only creates a difficult and urgent situation, but it delays the transformation and its resources from progressing.

To reduce risk, companies need to understand the current and future risks within the organizational landscape. Is there any unsupported hardware or software? Is the project compliant? Has the organization ensured that the transformation is protected from a cybersecurity perspective? Can you attract and find the right talent with the skills to support the existing applications?

By determining the potential impact and likelihood of any of these risks occurring, an organization can put proactive plans in place to reduce the chances and monitor for any early indicators.

Cut costs

While budgets are tight amid the current economic downturn, it's vital to actively seek out cost-cutting measures that can accelerate the pace of digital transformation while also effectively demonstrating any cost savings that will be achieved once that transformation is complete.

By reducing costs, your organization can increase resources in other areas.

Begin by understanding the true costs of running your existing applications by quantifying all infrastructure, software, and support costs. Your teams can then balance the potential savings that can be earned against the costs to replace the old application.

By proving the ROI through things such as automated capabilities, your business is more likely to support the transformation and prioritize getting it completed quickly.

Understand the applicability

Any digital transformation journey must have applicability to your business. Your organization must evaluate how well current applications are meeting business needs while recognizing any issues they are causing, and how transformation could improve them. The framework below can serve as a guide for your organization:

  • Redundancy: Is there potential to consolidate multiple applications that perform similar functions to reduce cost and simplify?
  • Criticality: How key is the application and function to business operations? Can availability be improved?
  • Rate of change: Would DevOps and agile technologies and techniques add any benefit to the application?
  • Competitive advantage: Will transformation differentiate the organization from its competition?
  • Business value: Where will the most ROI be gained?

Get started planning your transformation

By focusing on risk, cost, and applicability, organizations can outline a smart plan of attack for undergoing a technology transformation. Looking at the entire landscape from different aspects allows for informed decisions to be made—at a time when it's crucial for businesses to get these big decisions right.

Starting a technology transformation can be a daunting task, but the right initial approach will set the project up for long-term success and maximize the benefits it can bring to your organization.

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