By Johan Potgieter, Cluster Industrial Software Lead at Schneider Electric

According to Gartner’s IT automation trends for 2022, 40% of all enterprise workloads will be deployed in cloud infrastructure and platform services, up from 20% in 2020. Moreover, notes the report, organisations across industries — from financial services to retail, healthcare to education — are leveraging new tools and technologies to provide new, virtual services.

“The race is now on to improve the customer experience by creating new digital processes that optimize those services. Data, artificial intelligence, cloud services, and the internet of things (IoT) will provide a foundation for emerging digital technologies organizations will need to maintain competitive advantage,” says the report.

To harness the benefits of digital transformation, organisation must keep in mind that it is a continuous journey which presents both new opportunities and obstacles. Conversely, it cannot be a destination, but a road paved with evolving tactics, technology, and learning.

Digital transformation – multifaceted approach

At its core, digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to fundamentally change how businesses operate and deliver value to their customers. It involves the integration of digital technologies across all aspects of a business, including operations, marketing, customer service, and management.

That said, it’s important to bear in mind that digital transformation can take on many forms, aligned with various goals. Here are a few examples:

  • Implementing new digital tools and platforms to improve productivity and collaboration among employees.
  • Adopting data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to gain insights into customer behaviour and improve decision-making.
  • Creating a digital experience that meets the evolving needs of customers and offers new ways to engage with a brand.
  • Developing new business models that are enabled by digital technologies such as subscription-based “as-a-service” offering or e-commerce marketplaces.

Thus, digital transformation requires a holistic approach and involves significant changes in the way a business operates. It entails a commitment to ongoing innovation, experimentation, and continuous improvement to stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving needs of customers in the digital age.

The leaders

To meet the challenges and opportunity that comes with digital transformation head on, organisations must commit to and prioritise its planning, deployment, and ongoing management.

Typically, and depending on the business size, digital transformation will be managed by Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Digital Officer (CDO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), or other senior executives in charge of technology and innovation.

Regardless of who is in charge ,the primary focus should be on ensuring that the digital infrastructure works for the business. This involves several key considerations:

  • Aligning technology with business goals: this means ensuring that the technology investments are focused on addressing the business needs and priorities.
  • Ensuring integration and interoperability. The digital infrastructure should be designed to integrate and work seamlessly with other systems and tools within the organisation. This involves ensuring interoperability and avoiding silos of data or applications.
  • Ensuring data security and privacy. data security and privacy should be a top priority when designing and implementing the digital infrastructure. This involves ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to protect sensitive data and that data privacy regulations are followed.
  • Enabling agility and scalability. The digital infrastructure should be designed to enable agility and scalability. This means ensuring that the infrastructure is flexible and adaptable to changing business needs and can accommodate growth and expansion.

Finally, it’s important to foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement to ensure that the digital infrastructure continues to evolve and meet the changing needs of the business.

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