This is an era of business transformation. In the last decade, we have seen massive improvements in the computing capability of systems, which has enabled processing of an ever-increasing volume of consumer data. This in turn has spawned off the entire Analytics industry – an industry that has allowed organisations to understand customers better, target specific micro-segments and create value for the ecosystem. Digital transformation encapsulates this shift in the perspective that organisations today are trying to adopt to better serve customers.
A study by MIT Sloan Management Review found that companies now face a digital imperative: Adopt new technologies effectively or face competitive obsolescence. Today, every organisation needs to be digitally minded, powered by data, running in a multi-cloud world. Businesses are embracing digital transformation to improve operational expenses, product life and customer experience, in turn gaining competitive advantages. However, real transformation needs to go much beyond conventional transformation of IT infrastructure landscape and include a robust policy around data security and organisational behaviour.
Transformation of emerging technologies
Today, devices and technologies such as sensors, fog-based architecture, multi-vendor cloud environments, heterogeneous 5G mobile services, software-defined networking (SDN), and highly scalable applications running on wireless networks, connect all strata of the digital organisation, spanning from edge to core to cloud. Real-time data analytics, quick response times, and reduced costs are bringing substantial benefits to businesses. GE estimates that the industrial internet will bring productivity gains of US$8.6 trillion for industrial companies in the next 10 years.
The cloud plays a significant role in hosting large-scale distributed data applications and is consequently expected to grow exponentially. The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.5 per cent in 2019, reaching US$214.3 billion, up from US$182.4 billion in 2018, according to Gartner. Digital transformation hinges upon using data and cloud technologies effectively.
Cloud platforms come with their own unique privacy and security challenges. With sophisticated, multifaceted attacks threatening data and cloud applications, securing IoT applications, devices, networks, and IT infrastructure becomes critical to success. By 2020, 10 per cent of all attacks will target IoT systems. In the US, IoT incidents logged by the Department of Homeland Security rose more than seven-fold between 2010 (39 incidents) and 2015 (295).
Engineers will have to design and implement secure architecture by following robust design principles. The aim should be to strive for continuous security, continuous auditing, and continuous compliance by automating security in the cloud. IT should use managed security services to automate security, so that administration can focus on the business rather than being distracted by security risks.
A technologically robust and secure environment is a precondition before organisations can look beyond the mechanical aspects of transformation.
'Real transformation' is a change management practice. It goes beyond mere implementation of technology. Organisational aspects of digital disruption, besides technological ones, are critical in driving real transformation. A digital culture supports change while enabling the company’s overarching strategy. It promotes an external, rather than an internal, orientation. For many organisations, this amounts to a singular focus on the customer. A digital culture encourages employees to respond faster to customer needs. Leaders are implementing managerial practices such as Design Thinking, Agile and Lean Six Sigma Business Transformation to manage rapid change in the organisation.
The role of the leader championing transformation goes much beyond implementing a managerial framework. Leaders must prepare their workforce to embrace digital transformation. This means forming and communicating a shared sense of purpose. Values such as innovation, growth mindset and customer-centricity needs to be instilled in every member of the organisation.
Simultaneously, organisations must upskill their employees to become future-ready, capable of working with new technologies. Businesses must invest more in skill readiness to adopt technology with the aim of driving business growth.
With the next generation of robust, end-to-end digital enterprise solutions, now is the time to embark on 'real transformation'.
The writer is President and Managing Director of Dell Technologies India
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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