Digital Transformation Reality or Sound Bite?

Over the last 1-2 years there have been (like the title of this post suggests) lots of articles about “Digital Transformation”, “becoming” and “being” digital or helping you understand if you are either a digital “immigrant” or digital “native”. Many of these articles are focused on the vast new swathe of innovation in Fin Tech, BitCoin, Block Chain, AI, AR, VR and how all this new “tech” is going to deliver on the BIG BANG promise of transforming the way the Enterprise does business. I tend to contrast these articles with the real-world conversations we are having with CxOs on a regular basis that point towards a more stark reality. The challenges they face are a long way from the aspirations these articles evoke. Examples we hear include;

  • We are not getting value from the technology investments we made 6 years ago
  • Our business is still running on Excel spreadsheets we email to each other
  • We cannot manage internal change or even deliver basic projects
  • We can’t retain talent or find the skills we need
  • Our infrastructure is not ready for new ways of working
  • We’ve had two vendors in already and “its still broken”
  • Even our most basic collaboration platforms fail to deliver ROI
  • The last CxO wanted to change everything, so we ended up doing nothing

When you meet companies grappling with these basic issues, the conversation often ends with “can we have a quote urgently”, “can you start tomorrow” or “we are looking for the lowest price”. However, while this dialogue is ongoing, the market place is changing, consumers are becoming more empowered and unless the client has some kind of (near) monopoly, they can be left behind by existing competitors that adapt quicker or new entrants that come into the market that simply out gun the incumbent in a shorter time scale.

So how do we bridge the digital transformation gap?

The timescale to change is no longer a nice, slow moving bell curve, its a shark fin (as outlined by Accenture below) and just like a shark, it can come back and bite you!

As Ive written previously, the maturity of some of the key functions and competency in may clients we meet tend to be lower than they are willing to acknowledge. Even if they don’t say it openly, they know they need to change and invest, but are trapped in a cycle that more often prevents the latter. Many clients adopt the “JFDI” approach, which while outwardly admirable tends to overload key staff to the point of breaking (or leaving), you cannot be a hero in a low maturity business for long without something going pear-shaped !

Marc Lenferna, Director of Service Delivery at First Technology Cape Town, said; “We often have to help clients realise that while there maybe some near term quick wins, longer term transformation takes time. Its a question of helping clients make small steps, rather than try and do everything in one giant leap. A few years ago we encountered a project where only a few small changes in how the project was being run would yield a massive impact. Its the basics, not rocket science, that wins the day”. Lenferna concluded, “For clients with limited budgets and track records of failure, its key that any change has to be visible and successful to staff, suppliers and clients alike. Don’t go live with 22 digital business processes on day one, go live with one and make that a shining example, then adopt an incremental deployment strategy. Training in new ways of working will be key for all stakeholders as well as support to sustain the change”.

Real digital transformation in action

Nick Bradshaw, Director of Digital Products at First Technology said, “We help clients focus on the readiness, outcomes and maturity, even before we start work with them on the actual project, we tend to find clients that are open to this way of thinking are more successful in the long run. Its not about us selling them more technology or the latest thing that goes ping. Its about helping clients extract value from the investments they have already made and guiding them towards success using tools they have already purchased”.

Gabriel Malherbe, Head of Digital at First Technology KZN, “We work across all market verticals serving the needs of large Enterprise, SMB, Education, Government and Not-for-Profit clients alike. We are seeing a growing interest in how Enterprise tools like Office 365, Azure, K2 and App frameworks such as Cordova & Visual Studio can be used to digitise business processes and can be easily configured with minimal investment to meet many Enterprise Digital projects.

Since First Technology acquired Complexus, we have a much bigger team that can help clients deliver on digital transformation and we have already delivered a variety of successful digital process collaborations and we are now sharing new ideas with their Digital Development Team for new ways we can help our clients.

About us

Complexus is an innovative consulting and development company that was acquired by First Technology in 2016 and now forms part of the First Technology Digital Group. We are a Microsoft Gold consultancy operating out of Durban, Cape Town & Johannesburg. Complexus has taken the head count to over 100 staff to become a trusted SharePoint, Office 365, Azure & App solutions provider with a reputation for innovation in Enterprise / Digital Collaboration space. Our Product and Service portfolio is aimed at organisations seeking to collaborate more effectively and gain a greater return on their investment in the Microsoft SharePoint, Azure & Office 365 platforms. Complexus is also member of the prestigious Microsoft Business Critical SharePoint Partner Program & Cloud Services Partner Program. First Technology Group are able to offer any client a complete “A to Z” ICT service such as Microsoft licensing (Enterprise / CSP agreements), data centre, networking, hardware, peripherals & comprehensive managed services.

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