Digital Transformation: Why It Matters And How To Get There

Jamshid Vayghan

To remain competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment and fend off upstart competitors, established companies need to embark on an enterprise-wide digital transformation journey that leverages their existing IT capabilities. While many are only investing in point, customer-facing applications, the true key is a strong and flexible foundation of information and capabilities that typically reside in systems of record to drive these initiatives.

In this journey, companies must modernize old and inflexible systems of record while leveraging products like an in-memory computing platform to access existing data in ways that weren’t previously possible. Companies should also consider modern development approaches like agile and DevSecOps, and the use of hybrid cloud for the development of new capabilities. Another critical action is to find a partner with the expertise they need to approach digital transformation from a holistic perspective that serves them today — and into the future.

Prioritize systems-of-record transformation

While many newer companies have been digital from day one, established companies are often at a disadvantage when it comes to digital transformation because they often have to overcome challenges like siloed data sources, disjointed systems, and inefficient processes. But you can’t get the most out of next-generation customer engagement and insight platforms and technologies without modernizing your back-end systems of record. In fact, Forrester Consulting found that companies what prioritize core systems of record modernization have a 1.7x higher rate of digital transformation success compared to organizations that haven’t made modernization a priority.

So don’t get distracted by customer-facing change just yet because those initiatives depend on the data that lives in your back-end systems. You must prioritize systems-of-record modernization for successful enterprise-wide digital transformation, in addition to using products that provide secure capabilities for using data from systems of record in ways that weren’t possible in the past.

Use cloud in the core

A digital business requires a flexible, secure, reliable, AI-enabled, enterprise-ready IT infrastructure. As a means of creating and delivering value to customers and driving business innovation, cloud computing is dramatically changing the competitive business landscape. Embrace the agility, scalability, and security of the cloud to transform your internal operations, strengthen customer relationships, create innovative products, and deliver new, high-value services.

Established companies need a cloud migration strategy to guide their transformation journey. This strategy should systematically determine which existing applications need to be modernized, which existing applications could be shifted to the cloud, and which existing capabilities can be replaced by a SaaS solution. Additional considerations include how to develop new capabilities as cloud-native solutions and what to do when once you are in the cloud.

Invest in modern development approaches for long-term success

Greater agility is one of the main goals of becoming a digital business, and it’s imperative to thrive in any industry. To keep up with business and market demands, your development must be flexible and fast. Embrace agile development processes and practices — such as collaborative, cross-functional, self-organizing teams — to motivate your developers. You also need to streamline the development lifecycle, so adopting DevSecOps becomes a must too. To establish a flexible and extensible architecture, consider using a modular architecture that leverages microservices and APIs to improve product and service quality, and helps you more easily adjust to changing requirements to achieve your business objectives faster.

Co-innovate with partners

A successful digital transformation can’t be achieved with piecemeal planning and execution. It must be enterprise-wide, and most organizations don’t have the right expertise in-house to accomplish the journey on their own. Look for a partner with digital transformation experience who can quickly help you define the right scope and target for your enterprise, define a practical digital transformation roadmap based on your current capabilities, and execute its implementation. In other words, look for a partner to help you to do the right thing the right way. To get the most value out of your strategic partners, allow them to offer new, innovative ideas and capabilities that further your transformation rather than simply giving them work to do. By bringing in the right mix of skills, assets, and experience, you can free your staff to address other high-priority initiatives and become more innovative because of your digital transformation.

This is a trip you’ll be glad you took

Digital transformation can be a long journey. To succeed, you must build your organization’s digital transformation strategy and capabilities on a foundation of systems, processes, talents, cultures, enterprise governance, security, and investments that enable ongoing innovation and leverage your investments in existing capabilities. Modernize your systems of record to build a solid, secure, and flexible digital foundation for growth. Use hybrid cloud; modular architecture styles, including microservices and APIs; modern development techniques and tools, including agile and DevSecOps; and products, when needed. And find the right partner to help you do it all — the right way.

Learn more

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Jamshid Vayghan

About Jamshid Vayghan

Dr. Jamshid Vayghan is Global CTO and VP for Application Development and Management Innovation at IBM Global Business Services. Previous positions include CTO for IBM in Latin America and CTO for IBM Sales Transformation leading data and enterprise architecture initiatives for IBM’s own internal transformation.