Digital transformation high enterprise priority but communication problems afoot

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If you’re going to digitally transform your business, rule one is that everyone needs to be singing from the same hymn sheet. Yet this first hurdle seems to be beyond many organisations, according to a report from SADA Systems.

The study, which polled more than 350 IT professionals, found that while digital transformation was an “extremely high” priority for 49% of respondents, the biggest challenge for organisations was helping employees use more modern tools (58%). Securing necessary funding (53%), getting departments to overcome the fear of change (53%) were also cited heavily, with ensuring buy-in from the CIO and IT department (34%) less popular.

The definition of digital transformation needs to be examined; for 30%, it meant that “the project’s overall cost would be easily paid off through efficiency and net new profit due to modernisation.” For 19%, cloud infrastructure was at the core of their change, compared with big data and analytics (15%) and social media (14%).

Despite the issues, an overwhelming 93% said they were satisfied with their organisation’s transformation. Yet for those who are yet to embark, there is plenty to learn from the mistakes made by others.

27% of respondents said their digital transformations would have gone better had their companies focused more on ensuring communication between IT and the rest of the staff, while 22% argued better training should have occurred, and 14% complained about a lack of technical support for new tools and methods.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, IT was on average the least satisfied department following a move to digitise organisations, alongside finance.

“We weren’t surprised to find that companies are aggressively pursuing digital transformations, but we didn’t expect as much concern in the areas of education, training, communication and adoption,” said Tom Marek, practice director for SADA’s Microsoft group in a statement. “We are constantly talking to our customers about the importance of change management.

“Digital transformations are too expensive, time-consuming and important to be left to chance,” Marek added. “Companies must constantly work with employees to help them understand and use new tools and methods. This isn’t the sexiest part of the transition, but nothing matters more in terms of a positive outcome.”

This research shows, as this publication has covered in the past, how enterprise digital strategies need to focus on the culture as well as the technology. When Good Technology – now a part of BlackBerry – helped mobilise Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, one of the more interesting facets was around the employee side. Videos and posters were put up to explain the benefits and reasoning to employees behind the move, while the relationship between IT, HR, and employees to articulate the change was also praised by the mobility firm. 

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