Now is the time for businesses to deliver long-term value from their digital strategies

Digital has reached a tipping point and there’s no going back

To prevent this tipping point turning into a dangerous cliff edge, CIOs and their C-suite peers must continue to deliver digital transformation that allows the business to thrive and grow – and that means focusing on establishing the right cultures, processes and platforms to deliver long-term value.

That’s according to research from technology analyst IDC. The research takes the temperature of IT and business leaders around the globe, suggesting more than half of the global economy will be based on or influenced by digital in 2022.

This swing to digital has been accelerated by the events of the past two years. Organisations accelerated their digital investments in response to the coronavirus pandemic. When the outbreak of COVID-19 started, so did the hard work in the IT department. 

Cloud-based solutions were implemented in days rather than months and years. The result? Workers stayed connected and collaborative through video channels. School pupils and university students were taught via online-learning platforms. Businesses carried on serving socially distanced customers through scaled-up e-commerce channels.

This rapid cloud-based progress has changed the perception of the technology department forever. IT is finally viewed as an enabler of change. Now, the board wants more – and that means CIOs will have to manage a host of digital demands from across the organisation.

Delivering further transformation

IDC says 90% of European organisations recognise that a digital-first strategy is a must-have. The analyst defines digital-first as a corporate mindset where the C-suite uses digital technologies as the primary driver to overcome its challenges and achieve its objectives. 

As many as 84% of European IT leaders are now under pressure to deliver on digital transformation strategies. However, delivering further digital transformation – particularly in relation to the creation of new business models – is not straightforward. 

While almost two-thirds (64%) of European organisations have an enterprise-wide digital strategy in place, just 3% have one that has already produced new revenue streams. What’s more, two-thirds (65%) of European organisations believe it’s tough to leverage data and software to generate new revenue and business models.

Success comes from joined-up thinking, where IT and the rest of the business work together to develop digital roadmaps. In these organisations, both sets of parties work in concert to identify objectives for digital transformation. Use cases are then measured regularly, with the aim of delivering value quickly. 

While great in theory, delivering such joined-up approaches in practice is a challenge. IDC suggests the top barriers to digital transformation success are not technology-related but are instead linked to the establishment of the right corporate culture and elements such as leadership, people and skills. 

To deliver the outcomes the business requires, CIOs must work with their C-suite peers to establish the right approach. IDC says organisations looking to establish digital leadership at scale will need to master what it refers to as ‘future of culture’ traits, such as empathy, empowerment, innovation, and customer data centricity. 

Businesses that focus on culture will find it easier to achieve further digital transformation. Enterprise should aim to explore and learn about innovation as a single, joined-up entity. Such cooperation will enable businesses to respond to market changes at hyper speed. 

IDC suggests C-suites should cooperate across three key areas to create the digital culture that further transformation requires: value economics, data-driven innovation, and the future workplace. A continued commitment to the cloud should underpin these streams. Let’s look at each of these areas in turn and consider how the cloud will be used.

Building a digital culture

Value economics is the balance between investing in cost-reduction and revenue-generating technology. IDC says cloud is crucial to delivering new value. Half of European organisations believe further investments in managed infrastructure will deliver better digital value in key areas such as customer engagement and employee productivity. 

When expanding to the cloud, IDC says organisations must consider the risk of sprawl. Smart businesses will look for provision that offers flexibility, transparency and resiliency. In fact, 55% of organisations will have expanded resilience plans by the end of this year, improving profitability, innovation and efficiencies by more than 20% when compared with peers. 

Second, data-driven innovation. IDC says the best companies use data to identify new digital business opportunities. It says 70% of European CEOs will be incentivised to generate at least 40% of revenues from digital by 2025. Successful businesses take a joined-up view on data, using insight across the C-suite to identify new opportunities.

Sharing data requires an investment in a stable and secure cloud platform, says IDC. Yet 53% of businesses are lagging on their cloud infrastructure strategy, while 45% are unable to connect their legacy systems to cloud applications. Executives must invest in the cloud and create a data-driven organization that extracts value from information.

Finally, the future workplace. Prompted by the pandemic, executives have started embracing a hybrid model that allows staff to work from anywhere. IDC says half of European organisations have already invested in collaboration solutions. However, the researcher warns this investment is just a first step to delivering the future workplace.

The second step – which 30% of organisations have reached – centres on increased investment in secure connectivity and application delivery. The third – reached by just a quarter – involves increasing spend on remote-learning and cloud technologies to empower teams as they create new products and focus on added-value tasks.

A digital culture that delivers across value economics, data-driven innovation and the future workplace will allow businesses to achieve the next level of digital transformation that the board craves. Now, organisations must embrace the cloud and empower their employees to make key business decisions in the new normal. 


About the Author

Sammy Zoghlami is SVP at Nutanix. Nutanix is a global leader in cloud software and a pioneer in hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, making clouds invisible, freeing customers to focus on their business outcomes. Organizations around the world use Nutanix software to leverage a single platform to manage any app at any location for their hybrid multicloud environments. Learn more at www.nutanix.com

Featured image: ©Gorodenkoff

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