The Barriers to Digital Transformation and How to Overcome Them

In a recent blog post, we looked at how to modernise your business for the digital world.

However, considering digital transformation is one thing – actually implementing it end to end is quite another. There can be a number of factors holding your business back. Some might be financial; some logistical; others more to do with the mindset of your organisation as a whole.

In this companion piece, we’ll look at some of the most common digital transformation barriers and how to overcome them.

Why adopt digital transformation in the first place?

Before we look at overcoming the most common digital transformation barriers, it’s worth looking at the big benefits of modernising your technology approach.

In a world where up to 90% of businesses are adopting some kind of Cloud computing approach, companies are having to adapt their technology, networks and working practices or risk being left behind.

In doing so, the most forward-thinking enterprises are able to collect more data, gain smarter customer insights, and subsequently deliver a better customer experience. At employee level meanwhile, this allows workers to operate from multiple locations and collaborate more effectively; all using increasingly intelligent tools and programs that empower them to do a better job.

In short, digital transformation is good for everyone: your people, your customers, and in the long run, also for your bottom line. That is, providing you can roll it out effectively.

What follows are the most common digital transformation barriers as we see them, and what you need to consider in order to move past them successfully:

Company Culture

Change can be scary. On a simple human level, people tend to fear what they don’t understand – and when it comes to modernising potentially every aspect of your business, there’s a lot for employees to get their heads around.

If you’re going to take your more cautious decision-makers through the change curve, it helps to speak more about the benefits than the challenges.

But because digital transformation can entirely change the way your employees work, and how your customers interact with your business, measuring the potential return on investment (ROI) can be tricky – especially if you try to use the standards designed for your old way of working.

You’ll therefore want to do some work early on to establish what your key performance indicators (KPIs) look like now, and examine whether they’ll need to change once the new processes and systems come into effect. You can then begin the process of making that shift early, helping to gradually adjust your company’s culture, and facilitating the need for the transformation down the line.

In our experience, measuring digital transformation is usually best done by focusing on a combination of factors rather than one specific area. For instance, looking at a wide span of projected sales, process efficiency and product usability, in connection with customer retention, acquisition and satisfaction can make a compelling case, and lay the groundwork for transforming your business.

Cost

One of the most common digital transformation barriers here is often the sheer expense of investing in new technologies and the software that supports them.

When it comes to the most sophisticated solutions – like joining the Internet of Things (IoT) and adopting Machine Learning (ML) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) – that cost may not be entirely avoidable. But if you’ve completed the ROI process mentioned above, it should at least be easier to make the case for it; both in the boardroom and in your business’s annual budget.

Another aspect of the cost issue could be a little easier to mitigate. PC-as-a-service (PCaaS) providers allow you to effectively hire your company’s computing and telecommunications equipment on a subscription basis. With this approach, you can upgrade to new hardware more easily, and even scale up or down on your device strategy as your headcount fluctuates. This makes your business more agile, and freeing up funds to support larger investment in other systems.

Legacy systems

The global rollout of 5G, plus advancements in IoT and ML, are all laying the groundwork for more data-intensive processing – something most companies’ current-gen IT infrastructures are ill-prepared for.

But in a world where the current trend is moving from local working to Cloud computing, one potentially elegant solution is to use a middle ground between the two approaches.

As such, Edge computing allows for data to be processed locally – either on the machine where the data was originally created or accessed, or nearby at a data centre, before being moved to the Cloud. This means the Cloud doesn’t need to do all the hard lifting, which reduces latency and increases usability.

If the move from legacy systems to the Cloud is proving a challenge, then Edge computing might be the answer. Head here to find out how we can help modernise your legacy systems.

Security

Advancements in data processing and connectivity, together with the rise of mobile working, also bring with them increased security threats. Any new hardware or software solution must be designed with those threats in mind.

In the near future we believe AI could be the answer. But in the present day, our cyber security checklist should be of use. Or if you’d prefer hands-on assistance, our software consultancy service is well placed to help you achieve a secure digital transformation.

Conclusion

So that’s how to overcome barriers to digital transformation, broken down by the four key areas to consider. Is your business experiencing any of these?

If so, contact us to see how we can help you in overcoming barriers to digital transformation. Or visit our Digital Transformation for Enterprises page to find out more.