How to move beyond digital transformation

Business has always been Darwinian: the organisation has had to adapt, evolve or die and there are countless examples of businesses that have failed to do so.

In retail, think Blockbuster, HMV and Woolworths – all failed to see fundamental changes in customer appetite, consumer patterns and delivery mechanisms and paid the ultimate price.

But they were also victims of technological change that has increased the rate at which businesses need to adapt. Speed, scalability and the capability to seize the initiative are now more crucial than ever.

It’s therefore no longer just a question of whether the business can evolve but whether it can rapidly transform. Transformation is a disruptive state that involves the complete rethink of the way a business functions in terms of its organisation, processes and infrastructure.

>See also: Digital transformation in 2016: how far have we come, and how far have we left to go?

It’s a fundamental change that creates a momentary state of flux but which promises real dividends in the long run because it catapults the business into a more competitive state.

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It’s important to note that businesses don’t choose to embark on transformation; it chooses them. Transformation is often a painful but necessary process in order to remain competitive.

For established organisations, transformation is essential. These companies may have the advantage of a presence in the market, backed up by an enviable reputation, but they can also tend to be hobbled by legacy infrastructure and a rigid hierarchical staffing structure.

This can leave them at the mercy of more nimble newcomers – start-ups who have inevitably sprung from the cloud, enabling them to grow rapidly and adapt on-the-fly, facilitating quick reflexes to changes in market conditions. Of course, the incumbents were quick to recognise the need to compete by moving to the cloud.

Cue the first wave of digital transformation driven by cloud services. Adopters were quick to realise the benefits of a low-cost, highly scalable infrastructure with the added incentive of managed services.

Cloud services were a great leveller but if you were one of those organisations seeking to restructure the process, it wasn’t an entirely smooth one.

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Organisations found they needed to devote time and resource to ensure a smooth transition, that internal adjustments were needed to ensure services were managed appropriately, and that the increased reliance on third parties meant that other aspects, such as security and data protection, were prioritised. Even so, many regarded cloud services as a one-step change.

In reality, adopting cloud service is only one aspect of a rapidly evolving technological landscape. Other disruptive technology on the horizon includes the Internet of Things (IoT), from the wearables employees bring to work, to the office kettle and other unsecured entry points on to the network, not to mention IoT enterprise equipment used to create and deliver goods and services.;

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