The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our world, affecting daily life in ways we never could have imagined even a few short months ago. For many organizations, these changes have led to a fundamental shift in how we define business as usual, causing many companies to reassess and reprioritize their business and IT goals and budgets in dramatic and unexpected ways.
During this environment of unprecedented change and uncertainty, it may be tempting for some companies to put digital transformation initiatives on hold and instead focus on more familiar and less disruptive efforts. But this is already a time of disruption, and many aspects of digital transformation are exactly what’s needed to help organizations move forward to deliver more value to customers, pursue new opportunities for growth, improve efficiency—or all of the above.
As you contemplate what’s next for your organization and industry, consider how the following four IT initiatives can help advance digital transformation goals and better position your organization to grow and succeed today—and throughout better days ahead.
1) Break Through Silos with Agile Practices
With workers physically separated, many are seeking clever ways to encourage collaboration, teamwork, and community. From digital water cooler chat hours to new platforms and technologies, the current remote work scenario has in many instances led to new connections with departments or individuals collaborating that have never worked together before.
As these connections are forged, you have a unique opportunity to encourage DevOps style practices throughout IT operations. Self-service help desks, team integrations, and feedback loops that span traditionally siloed arenas such as ITOps, development, security, and support are some of the ways you can foster innovation by dissolving departmental barriers. Gaining C-level buy-in is a critical success factor to rolling out agile initiatives with clear and regular communication about who is involved, what needs to happen, and why these changes make sense given company goals.
2) Make “Everything as a Service” a Reality
The industry has been kicking around the term “XaaS” for years as marketing teams added “aaS” to the end of just about any kind of web-based, on-demand service. Now more than ever, the time for XaaS is here. One example is large scale events going digital-only with “Events as a Service.”
The current environment is ideal for scaling a cloud and -as-a-Service strategy because it allows companies to be more agile amid fluctuating market conditions. As monthly consumption for IT services grows, companies will need IT staff to manage subscription spend. As leadership grows more comfortable with operational expenses versus fixed cost spending on physical hardware, it can lay out a plan to continue scaling services into the future.
The key is determining which platforms and applications are a good fit to change to a consumption-based model, as going wholesale into the cloud may lead to greater costs for some situations.
3) Focus on Customer Experience
Despite the devastation caused by the pandemic environment, it has also brought out the best in many of us. More than ever, individuals and organizations are looking out for our neighbors, families, small businesses, and communities at large. And although it’s easy to dismiss pandemic-oriented services as opportunistic, the general attitude of customer-centricity is one many companies are looking to adopt moving forward.
The customer experience is what ultimately drives revenue or proves the value of IT services (and the individuals providing them). One of the first steps to digital transformation is changing the driving force from products to the customer experience.
When considering this move, ask: “How does our technology make things easier for the customer or the end-user?” Soliciting and implementing feedback from users into technology delivery and doing so quickly enough so that they take notice, will lead to amazing experiences that help your organization grow and retain customers.
4) Identify Opportunities to Automate
If you’ve put certain projects on hold, consider transitioning that IT staff to other initiatives aimed at gaining efficiencies and reducing cost through automation.
Consider experimenting by automating simple and routine tasks using mature technology like business rules engines, mobile app platforms, and native cloud automation tools. Companies that are ready to go deeper can explore low-code, AI, and machine learning.
Many other changes to IT operations may occur, either as a direct result of the pandemic or as a related side effect. But the use of automation, agile practices, customer-centric services, and “-a-a-S” and cloud solutions will play a role in other technologies and processes the company implements.
While it can be overwhelming to throw too much change at your organization at once, it’s worthwhile to use this time to prioritize your transformation efforts and map out a plan. So when we do get through this difficult time, we’re all prepared and better positioned to move forward together.