Merge tech, people and partnerships for sustainable digital transformation

17 February 2021 Consultancy.com.au 5 min. read

Global technology services firm HCL has released its ‘Digital Acceleration for Business Resilience’ report, an in-depth study into the state of digital transformation based on the views of 400 leaders from enterprises around the globe. Sachin Bajaj, Head of the firm’s Digital & Analytics practice in Europe and Asia-Pacific, walks through some of the report’s most notable findings.

One of the topics highlighted by the report is the various degrees of supply chain disruptions taking place across different geographies. Among them, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region seems to be suffering the greatest with a significant percentage of organisations reporting disruptions across operations and supply chain. 

At the same time, they are also exhibiting a greater than average rate of adoption of technological enablers. 89% of the surveyed leaders said that they plan to invest more heavily in at least one digital technology due to the pandemic, with investment in four technologies planned on average.

Supply-Side Disruption Caused by COVID-19

Australia and New Zealand has seen one of the greatest rates of adoption of digital tools. In the region, only 41% organisations considered digital transformation a board-level concern in the pre-Covid-19 age. Today, that number stands at 65%. This demonstrates a clear understanding of the role technology plays in recovery, as well as a commitment to digitally accelerate into 2021.

Cybersecurity (57%) and cloud computing (55%) are nearly tied as first-priority investments for enterprises. The next tier of investments includes a cluster of technologies that each show a 38% to 41% investment rate: Big Data & Analytics, AI/Automation, IoT and Edge Computing, and Data Virtualisation. 

Implementing digital transformation

However, even the most well defined and promising digital transformation strategies are difficult to execute, especially at time when they must be expedited. Initiating and managing enterprise-wide change in large organisations with incumbent complexities in their technology core can be a challenge. 

Does your organization’s leadership plan to invest more heavily in any of the following digital technologies as a direct result of COVID-19

According to the Boston Consulting Group, 70% organisations fail to achieve their digital transformation objectives, and this includes top performers and markets leaders. A failed digital transformation strategy can have multiple reasons.

One of the major impediments to the pace and success of the digital transformation wave is the stronghold of legacy technology and outdated data management models. According to the Digital Acceleration report, data security and governance concerns (40%) and legacy technologies (35%) are two of the most pressing threats to digital acceleration.

Organisational inertia

Another of common underlying factor is organisational inertia, because as important as technology is, the people dimension can make or break any digital transformation initiative.

The people dimension is a collective term that defines areas like operational models, processes, culture, and skills. Yet, when it comes to threats against digital transformation, organisations often tend to underestimate the skill levels of people required to execute these strategies effectively. In fact, the Digital Acceleration report reveals that about 35% organisations consider their lack of in-house skills to be one of the largest impediments to their digital growth.

What is the key to digital success?

In a digital ecosystem, where data has become the lifeblood flowing through the organisational structure, simply up-skilling can only take progress so far. What companies must now focus on is the cross-skilling of their people and breaking down silos that limit visibility across the enterprise. After all, isn’t that the core principle of a digital revolution? 

Yet for the most part, business functions share a competitive relationship rather than a collaborative one. This often leads to lost opportunities, not to mention the friction against digital growth. The ripple effects of such a situation includes negative impacts on the top- and bottom- line and brand presence, both of which result in hindered growth in the new normal.

Troubles like these only underpin the need for cross-functional, collaborative teams in the age of digital acceleration, which along with cross-silo collaborations are an invaluable requirement of the digital transformation journey. A powerful collaborative environment provides a two-fold boost to the digital acceleration of businesses. 

Firstly, the enhanced flow of information and clarity provides them with the confidence and insights to invest in the right technology and propel their digital journey. Secondly, more insightful investment in technology gives them an edge that improves their revenue gains and growth. 

How are you executing your digital transformation

The importance of a partner ecosystem

Organisations traditionally, have had complete control of the delivery mechanism of their products and services. From analysis to customer behaviour to product innovation, most functions are executed in-house, with a minimal transactional relationship with their partners.

However, with the current digital acceleration trend, collaboration with partners must become a matter of strategic collaboration defined by relationships beyond the contract. Businesses must focus on accelerating their digital transformation through technology partners to expedite immediate necessary technology changes. The right strategic partner can ensure an efficient, seamless, high-impact transition and can also help scale in-house skills.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of having a strategic partner ecosystem is the availability of a multi-directional approach to digital transformation. A parallel focus on cross-functional collaboration and leveraging technology partners for strategic innovation can significantly improve operational efficiency, increase profitability, and enhance customer experience.

More information? Download the 'Digital Acceleration for Business Resilience' report.