Digital transformation: Why? For whom?

August 12th, 2020  by Bruno van Marsenille

Although digital transformation is clearly on the agenda of all companies, we must ask ourselves the right questions, especially in smaller organizations, so that this project could succeed (read: ‘generate added value or cost savings’). For which purpose and which target should we launch a digital transformation?

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According to consulting firm MarketsandMarkets, the digital transformation market was estimated at 290 billion dollars in 2018 and is expected to reach 665 billion dollars in 2023, which corresponds to a cumulative annual growth of 18% over the period concerned. Consultancy firm Valuates Reports states that this market was valued at 330 billion dollars in 2019 and should reach 785 billion dollars in 2026, which corresponds to a cumulative annual growth of 13%.

Although these figures may vary from one consultant to another, it is obvious that digital transformation is a huge market and one of the top priorities; not only of IT directors, but also - and especially - of the general management of companies.

The objectives

Globally speaking, digital transformation aims to “rethink the development of IT systems, their availability and their operating models by strengthening the ability of IT to efficiently collaborate within the company and beyond its traditional limits,” says consultancy firm Deloitte.

Therefore, we must deploy a basic infrastructure on which we can rely in order to deliver automated services, cloud computing and new operational business models. Likewise, we seek to accelerate the provision of IT services and to reduce the risks during this deployment.

The final goal is to transform IT in order to make it more reactive (or even proactive), more flexible and more in line with the rapid evolution of the business needs, without neglecting the inevitable dimension of cost savings.

Consequently, digital transformation implies a strategy aimed at re-evaluating and re-designing all of an organization’s information systems in order to improve efficiency or to offer new innovative services.

In reality, digital transformation is mainly focusing on the following targets: customer experience (allowing to provide the customer with new services and products in digital form), employee experience (particularly in the field of human resources and access to information), process optimization (with more efficient and personalized workflows) and product digitization (dematerialization by means of an agile architecture).

The steps

A digital transformation project is structured around a clear vision as well as an efficient and coherent strategy. The latter must be defined by the company’s general management, after having consulted all businesses departments and IT. The stakeholders must define their needs and specify their ambitions and objectives, after which a precise implementation schedule is to be established. A precise approach in terms of partnerships with the different economic players of the organization (employees, suppliers, customers) will have to be provided.

IT supplier Dell EMC has identified 3 major steps in a digital transformation:

  • modernizing the infrastructure to improve the organization’s efficiency;
  • automating the IT processes and providing service-based IT;
  • transforming the IT processes and operations with a view to more flexibility.

The challenges

Although digital transformation will allow the company to become more reactive, more competitive, more productive and more innovative while reducing its costs, it won’t be easy to make such a project succeed. Indeed, the transformation must be steered at the highest level of the organization, within the framework of a clearly defined vision, while involving the different business entities; not just IT. The company must avoid the silo approach since it concerns a transversal project and involve the different entities of the organization by listening to the needs and wishes of the users. After all, who says ‘transformation’, also says ‘change’. Therefore, we must accept a new approach or structure and integrate it into the existing one. Moreover, (cyber)security must be paid special attention to, while the return on investment is sometimes difficult to quantify very precisely.

In its Digital Radar 2020 report, published this summer, Infosys states: “Too often, I still notice that some CxOs hear a buzzword and immediately want to launch this technology without being clear about how it will help the company to achieve its goals. They underestimate the roles that changes in the field of culture and state of mind will play in the underlying processes.”

The mission of Aprico Consultants is to support companies in their digital transformation projects. This support should be both strategic and technological. In order to support its strategy, Aprico has developed an original work methodology based on three axes: smart, lean and agile. One of Aprico’s key success factors is its transversal approach combining business, technology and methodology; all of this associated with our requirements criteria.

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