It seems like everyone is talking about digital transformation these days. With the pandemic ushering in a new level of reliance on technology and digital systems, the rising interest in digital transformation is a logical result. Companies of all kinds are realizing all the ways they are lagging behind in technology, and just how much that could cost them in the long run.
For those not in the industry, the term can seem vague to the point of humor. What in the world is digital transformation, anyway?
Digital transformation is the restructuring of a company’s operations in order to seamlessly incorporate technology into business functions, products, and services. For example, if you run a photography business, but you’re shooting photos with a disposable camera, a digital transformation might involve updating to a digital camera and purchasing a professional photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop.
Digital transformation can be a costly process. The CEO of a retail company recently brought a $500 million dollar digital transformation to his company’s board for evaluation; the company was unable to come to a decision because the financial estimates for a plan so large can be difficult to pinpoint with accuracy.
And yet despite the costs, companies continue to pay consulting firms like Accenture or McKinsey for complex digital transformation packages. Why? Because they desperately need to modernize their technology. Even before the pandemic threw the American economy into upheaval by forcing many people to work remotely, many companies needed to update their technology and adapt their processes to the 21st century. The problem is even more urgent now, as innovation continues to leave slow-moving organizations in the dust.
So if these costly digital transformation contracts are worth paying for, what is the catch? There is one major pitfall of programs like these. But first we need to talk a little bit more about what the digital transformation process looks like.
What the digital transformation process looks like
Before the process begins, the team must analyze and evaluate where the organization is most in need of improvement. This can involve an internal or external review process, or occasionally both in combination. This is a necessary step in order to get the most value possible out of any digital transformation contract awarded. Where are the areas of waste in your organization? Where is technology prohibiting growth and innovation? What is costing you money?
Together, the technology company and its client work to create a strategy for implementation of new technology. Emphasis is placed on value and efficiency. The teams pinpoint areas where improvement is needed and plan to work through them.
Finally, the external digital transformation team comes in and implements all the new technology. This is a time of great upheaval as the team works to get the technology installed and working in its new use cases. As the external team is implementing the new technology, the company’s IT department keeps the system running on the old technology in the interim.
WHERE THE TROUBLES LIE
Those are all the steps involved in the process. After the implementation stage, the digital transformation company exits. Notice anything missing in this process?
The transition. After the implementation of the new technology, the digital transformation company leaves, essentially abandoning the company to figure out how to use the new technology on their own. This can be an especially daunting task for the IT department, whose resources tend to be stretched thin already in their focus on maintaining the old technology. They must take on the transition themselves, keeping everything running smoothly while learning and implementing the new technology on the job.
That big-box digital transformation companies offer few options for the actual transition process is a significant flaw in their business model. For such an expensive and significant process, one would think there would be a better solution to the problem of hasty or stressful transitions to new technology.
There is a solution to this oft-overlooked problem. Tech Talent South partners with digital transformation companies to provide a full-service digital transformation. We train our tech talent so that they’re experts in your target technology. They join the digital transformation team in the implementation stage, familiarizing themselves with your system and the new technology. When the digital transformation company moves out, our talent stays behind, ready to finish the transformation process smoothly and introduce the existing IT team to the new technology.
If you’re considering the serious price tag that comes with digital transformation, make sure you evaluate whether your IT team is ready to handle the additional workload that comes from taking care of the final stage of transition themselves. Take the pressure off your team by partnering with one of our diverse, highly skilled teams of technology professionals to make the most of your new digital transformation.