Digital Transformation: 2020 and Beyond

Forced Opportunity

Entering 2020 it looked to be the year two major industry shifts merged. The first shift is the rapid disruptive pace of technology change. The second is a comprehensive mindset change from viewing technology as a cost to embracing technology as a business driver.

Instead, 2020 came crashing in with unforeseen global challenges and unprecedented problems. Rather than eliminate the coming merge 2020 brought the two shifts crashing together more rapidly than anyone could predict. This cataclysmic collision has become a forced opportunity for truly transformative digital technologies.

This cataclysmic collision has become a forced opportunity for truly transformative digital technologies.

A biproduct of that same collision has been validation of digital transformation principles. Companies that had already adapted to responsive IT systems and technology agility have entered the second quarter of the year better positioned than their competition.

The possibilities of technology are only achievable when organizations are ready, willing and able to act. 2020 has forced our collective hand into a ‘ready, and willing’ state. Is your organization ready?

Organizations that seize this opportunity, embracing required immediate shifts with an eye on their impact over time will enter 2021 with boundless opportunity. The path has been charted by trailblazing companies creating extensive of lessons learned: what works; what doesn’t, and pitfalls to avoid. 2020 is the year digital transformation moves from innovators through early adopters and into the majority. Finding the right balance of technology, people, and process will drive adoption and spark your next innovation.

Embracing the Constant:  Change

Successful digital transformation will be not be measured in specific results, but with ongoing, continuous improvement modalities. While goals can, and should be set for specific tasks, they need to be addressed with the understanding that change is constant and often disruptive. Digital transformation must be viewed as a continual process, where organizations are able to adopt systems, workflows and behaviors that ensure the next wave of revolutionary transformation can be quickly absorbed.

Digital transformation must be viewed as a continual process…

When undertaking major transformations like cloud migrations, application rationalization, or agile initiatives, organizations must analyze the processes requiring change and determine how best to evolve those processes. While the capabilities of new technology will differ, the adoption method needs to be reliable yet fluid enough to adjust along the way. Establishing a clear yet flexible path from identification through adoption with steps for validation, education, and socialization is critical to long-term success.

These new adoption methodologies should be implemented in parallel with existing transformation projects. Typically, this process takes 12-18 months to fully implement, test, and adapt. A current transformation priority is chosen, and the methodology is implemented and tested along with its rollout.

The Continuum Modality©

The clear path to adoption involves multiple phases that must be run continually in an iterative loop. Those include identification, validation, education, purchase & planning, deploy & testing, and socialization. The center axle of this process is adaptation. Our Continuum Modality© is tailored to the specifics of each organization.

Transformation Modality
The Continuum Modality© is a wheel revolving around an axle of adaptation.

Our Continuum Modality© can be applied no matter where an organization sits in its digital transformation initiative. For example, if ‘DevOps’ is a chosen solution and projects are already underway for planning and design, two things can take place. The first is a look back at the previous phases. Did they work, did they fit this methodology, are they reliable and fluid? The second is to plan for the remaining phases and options for making them reliable and fluid enough to absorb the next technology shift.

Whatever transformation adoption stage you’re in, it’s critical to adopt a methodology to achieve the desired outcome. For most organizations these processes will run in parallel with multiple transformations ongoing at different stages.

Whatever transformation adoption stage you’re in, it’s critical to adopt a methodology to achieve the desired outcome.

Transformational Leadership

Capitalizing on the fusion of technology, demand, and people requires transformational leadership. At the highest level (CIOs for example) there is a requirement for business-savvy, visionary leaders who are tightly aligned with the lines-of-business. Legacy structures aligning Information Technology (IT) to the CFO will force a tight coupling to Return-on-Investment (ROI) rather than business driven growth metrics. This inevitably leads to a very narrow set of investment criteria for technology decisions.

Transformational leadership and alignment must flow down the organizational chain. Technology leaders must build consensus and agreement among responsible teams and be aware of cultural, technology, and knowledge barriers to adoption. The best laid transformation plans can fall flat in the face of a staff that isn’t aligned or committed to the change.

IT leaders should seek internal champions who have the respect of their peers and a desire to adopt the transformation. These key individuals will act as evangelists for the shift, helping to ensure smooth adoption. The more information provided to and input requested from operational staff, the more likely they are to treat transformation as a positive. This helps avoid fears of job replacement or being left behind.

IT leaders should seek internal champions who have the respect of their peers and a desire to adopt the transformation.

Transformation is 80/20

True digital transformation follows the 80/20 rule. 80% of the effort is organizational: people and process. 20% of the work is technology: hardware and software. Heavy lifting must be done in understanding existing procedures, cultural and organiza- tional silos, and gathering true insight into the challenges facing organizations today. Often, executives are not fully aware of all these factors as they are intentionally/unintentionally obfuscated from leadership.

Embarking on transformational initiatives without an adoption methodology can lead to projects project veering off course, falling short of the desired outcomes. Our Continuum Adoption Methodology is a proven approach to achieving successful digital transformations.