How can we Transform Digital Transformation?

Organisations have been on a steady march towards the cloud for some time now, with a recent Cloud Industry Forum survey showing nearly 90% of organisations having adopted multiple cloud based services.  Interestingly, 72% of organisations have sought to move to cloud in search of cost savings and 36% are using the approach to replace legacy systems.  Only 29% cite enabling innovation and 27% business agility as their primary objective in making the change.

Thus it would seem that we are applying some very traditional IT values to the business case for becoming more cloud centric.  The same survey shows only 44% have a tangible digital transformation strategy.  Whilst a further 32% believe their organisations recognise the need for digital transformation, it is clear that over half of those surveyed are not yet in transformation mode.  With the current pace of change and the constant entry into multiple markets of disruptor organisations, what must organisations do to avoid becoming irrelevant in their markets?

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The enduring problem with IT in many organisations is one of culture rather than an explicit issue with technology.  IT has evolved as a highly risk-averse function and one that, despite the endless calls to the contrary, is still often regarded as a cost centre.  This would explain the high percentage of organisations seeking cost savings from the cloud and the disappointingly low percentage of those seeking innovation and business agility.  Sadly, many of those with cost savings as their primary objective will often fail to attain their goal as cloud services, when measured with all the associated financial elements, are rarely significantly cheaper than more traditional systems over time.

The cultural issue shows again when examining the responses with 47% of the respondents citing legacy applications as a barrier to digital transformation.  This is suggestive that legacy is not being embraced as part of the transformation journey but is rather a separate element that must somehow be overcome before the journey can begin, but this is to take a very narrow view of digital transformation.

Is this narrow view one that emanates from within IT or is it a perception that the business has developed over time.  Does the business see the new digital world as one that is only viable with new and shiny technology or is it that IT is struggling conceptually to deliver legacy computing in a fresh and modern way?


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