Why effective digital transformation eludes many organisations

26 October 2020 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read

The benefits of a digital transformation strategy are well understood by most organisations, however many projects that are undertaken fail to deliver the expected benefits. Chris Ellis from Nintex explains how using a process platform can overcome some of the most common digital implementation pitfalls.

Indeed, 80% of respondents to a McKinsey & Company survey on the subject revealed their organisations had undertaken digital transformation projects in recent years, yet only 16% felt the efforts had improved performance and enabled long-term change.

All too often, these failings occur as a result of ongoing process silos created by disjointed tools and technologies spread across an organisation. This shows that simply using the latest technologies is not enough. Effective digital transformation requires a complete change in organisational thinking.

Issues also arise because, while they might embrace modern digital solutions, many organisations continue to rely on outdated, inflexible IT models. This mismatch makes it difficult to streamline and manage IT systems, creating further complexities and inefficiencies.

Chris Ellis, Director, nintex

In addition, there’s the issue of fragmented IT governance. Many firms suffer from IT sprawl and oversight of these systems is often ad hoc and sometimes even non-existent.

Within some organisations, there are also problems when it comes to process automation misalignment. This occurs because too many senior executives lack the communication and alignment needed for long-term automation success. Without a true partnership between the C-suite and the IT department, enterprises fail to create automation roadmaps that meet business priorities and have the desired impact.

The end result is that many enterprises find themselves stuck in a state of digital suspension. Without the ability to connect the various new solutions they’ve deployed, they are unable to make any progress. Yet having synchronisation between IT and business strategies can help an organisation reorient its digital evolution plans and put it on a path for long-term success.

Take a process platform approach

Properly aligning an IT strategy with business goals requires the use of a process platform. In this approach, modular IT platforms work both independently and together to automate processes, create agility and enable rapid innovation.

Each of the elements is governed by a central group dubbed the process Centre of Excellence (CoE), which is charged with ensuring effective alignment in all areas. This allows the adoption of a so called ‘fail fast’ strategy which has been popularised by large technology firms such as Microsoft, Apple and Amazon. Now, thanks to the development of low- and no-code tools together with drag-and-drop interfaces, enterprises of all sizes and industries can adopt the same approach.

A fresh mindset

But no single tool or technology will yield effective process governance on its own. Instead, you must change your entire organisational mindset. The steps required to achieve this include:

  • Centralisation of IT governance: Begin by facilitating strong communication between executive leaders, IT teams and business units. This will help to align everyone around key goals and create corresponding modular platforms.

  • Map and automate processes: All processes within the organisation should be carefully mapped using intuitive tools that allow employees across departments to provide input. Identify those best suited for automation to eliminate pain points and streamline inefficient processes.

  • Continuously optimise: Another important step is to make use of analytics and reporting mechanisms to track the performance of each automated process. This data can then be used to fine-tune the processes and maximise results over time.

Digital transformation is not a one-off activity, but something that will continue to evolve over time. Ensure processes and systems are regularly evaluated to ensure they are delivering the expected benefits to the organisation. Also, check with staff to confirm the processes are meeting their requirements.

By taking a proactive, hands-on approach, it’s possible to enjoy the significant value a comprehensive digital transformation project can deliver.