Organisations across all industries continue to embark on a feverish push to digitise critical business processes.
As the world scrambled to transition to remote workforces, cater to new ways of working and pivot to new business models amid the global pandemic, businesses rushed to transform digital deployments to address supply chain management, customer relationships, employee communications, and other urgent business problems.
Today, 91 percent of Asia Pacific, including Japan (APJ), organisations have adopted digital-first strategies to transform themselves into digital businesses, according to IDC.
If anything, many companies fast-tracked certain elements of their digital adoption by as much as 10 years because of the rapid technology pivots they made.
According to Gartner digital transformation is imperative to stay competitive and push ahead of the pack.
Gartner’s 2022 Leadership Vision: Top 3 Strategic Priorities for CIOs reveals, “Organisations increasingly need digital information and technology not only to run the day-to-day operations, but also to grow and differentiate the business."
“CIOs will need to work closely with business leaders to develop digital-enabled business capabilities that generate revenue, improve profit margin or advance the mission and constituent satisfaction.”
But if the global pandemic taught businesses anything at all, it’s that digital transformation was only the first step in the all-important digitisation journey.
Indeed, companies discovered they need to be flexible, adopt streamlined workflows, and implement a widespread modernisation project — better known as ‘digital acceleration' — an approach to digitally transform businesses consistently and sustainably.
“Digital acceleration delivers incremental changes to products, platforms, and solutions in order to enhance the way the business runs on a daily basis,” according to Endava’s head of APAC sales, Mike Young.
‘Digital acceleration’ to the rescue
The main differentiator between digital transformation and digital acceleration is speed — being fast and agile, according to Endava CEO John Cotterell.
“COVID-19 showed global organisations that there’s a real need to be flexible and fast when creating and implementing digital strategies. Operating environments changed almost overnight and companies needed to be quick to adapt and implement new technology to solve emergent issues,” Cotterell said.
“This digital acceleration approach was validated during the pandemic. It’s important that businesses keep pace with the evolution of technology to allow them to not only follow their own digital adoption strategies, but also have the ability to react to unforeseen issues.”
In order to keep momentum, tech leaders need to “reimagine the relationship between people and technology,” Young said.
“As new technologies are introduced to a business, the way in which people interact with the business and each other changes. Reimagining the relationship between people and technology is about identifying the right technology and processes to change in order to provide the best experience for customers and employees alike.”
But CIOs and tech leaders are under the pump, dealing with increased pressure to modernise solutions, integrate and adopt new technology.
“The challenge now will be for them to take stock after the speed of the pandemic and make sure they’re really embracing a strategic digital acceleration,” Cotterell said.
“They must be prepared to build on what they have and get ready for continuous change and improvements. Placing the user at the centre of this journey will be key for those companies that are looking to ensure they stay at the forefront of their industries. Changes must be carefully considered to improve services and offerings, innovating iteratively, rather than seeking to replace.”
One of the main challenges in the digital acceleration journey is clearly understanding the business' core objectives, what’s envisioned for success, and the implementation plan.
“Sometimes companies are willing to spend money on digital acceleration, but they have to think about implementation and where it goes. By understanding the challenges a business is trying to address, deciding where to invest in technology can be quickly prioritised.”
At the same time, part of the modernisation process should also involve building upon pre-existing infrastructure and capabilities and adapting to newer technology.
“Companies should look to what technologies are available and what will help them bring the change they seek. In simpler terms, developing a clear digital strategy in their process of modernisation is a good baseline.”
Its not the destination, its the journey
Digital adoption is an ongoing journey. Companies need to build within the business a culture of continuous improvement and adaptation.
“Taking a start-stop approach is the same as saying that you think once you implement a change, technology will stop progressing. There is always space to improve and meet new, evolving demands. Businesses need to think of their long-term goals, especially when seeking innovation within their work,” Young said.
In fact, modernising digital systems is a process, not a turnkey solution. “The process never ends; therefore, organisations need to adopt a mindset of continuous improvements. Adapting and modernising critical legacy systems to transform the way they work before moving onto the next system that can be improved.”
Adopting a long-term vision is key to developing a digital future.
“Companies must put in place strategies that are long-term, but that also leave room for continuous improvement. Innovation doesn’t stand still and neither should a business seeking to remain at the cutting edge. There’s always more room to improve.”
Learn more about digital acceleration here: https://www.endava.com/en