3 ways to overcome challenges of digital transformation: Q&A with Chris Stiles
With a tap, Lyft can take you to where you need to go in just a few minutes. Car companies like Audi are using virtual reality to give you a test drive of their latest models. Amazon Prime Now can deliver groceries to your door step within two hours. Social media tools like ConnectedHQ automatically aggregate your contact list and social media communications to view on one dashboard. These are just few examples of how digital business transformation is changing the way we work and live.
The driving force behind digital transformation is new innovative technologies. Many of you are already on this digital journey—migrating your legacy systems with new technologies, evolving traditional operations to more modern processes, and aligning IT to meet business requirements and drive innovation. But how do you easily adopt new technologies without disrupting your business? How do you manage and support your evolving network while still focus on the needs of the business?
I recently had a chat with Cisco’s Technical Services Vice President, Chris Stiles, to get his thoughts on what are the big obstacles facing IT around digital transformation and his recommendations to address them.
1. What are the biggest obstacles facing IT as businesses navigate through their digital journey?
Stiles: While new technology advances are fueling innovation and business transformation, it also presents huge challenges, placing significant demands on IT. There are three big obstacles facing IT management today:
- Keeping up with the pace of change
The first is keeping up with the pace of change. Business innovation is changing at a rapid pace and organizations have to adapt quickly to remain competitive. There is greater reliance on IT to drive more value to the business but they also have less resources to do it.
- Growing IT complexity
Advanced technologies such as cloud, virtualization, big data analytics, IoT, and mobility are helping to drive digital transformation which leads to the next challenge—the growing complexity in IT from new technology applications to multivendor scenarios and the network.
- Bridging the talent gap
IT needs to gear up for innovation and get maximum value out of their IT investments. However, many organizations lack the resources and IT skills to address the increased complexity and the expertise to support and manage these new technologies to transform their business.
2. How can IT keep up with the pace of change?
Stiles: Getting the desired outcomes is not only from the technology itself but how these innovations are integrated and managed. To start, you need to define and establish a business-driven IT strategy, including technologies, processes, and people that will help you align with company goals to drive business outcomes.
Next, assess your environment and create the right plan so you can be confident your investment will meet your business needs, not only for today, but into the future. Determine if you have the right processes, people, and resources in place to carry out your objectives, as well as to help overcome any challenges that may disrupt your business.
Lastly, align your efforts where it makes the most business impact, driving innovation. Consider using IT services providers to augment your skills and resources internally for the day-to-day operations that keep your business running. In fact, in our recent study, 74% of VP-level decision makers say that using IT services is essential to their success. And 54% say they actively plan to increase their use of IT services in the year ahead.
3. Complexity is a given. So the real question is, how can IT better manage it?
Stiles: As more network functions become application-centric, hyper-converged, and virtualized, the entire infrastructure becomes more complex to manage. And as complexity grows, you face a widening gap in the efficiency of your network. Chasing system problems and resolving isolated issues that quickly pile up can dictate your schedule. It’s no wonder you’re spending most of your time managing the availability of your network rather than focusing on driving innovation.
Traditional product support models are no longer enough. You need higher-level services that use analytics to assess infrastructure performance, anticipate and remediate issues quickly (sometimes before they occur), and optimize the utilization of your technology.
For example, your IT services partner should have the capability to help you onboard and integrate new technologies into your business workflow to help increase its utilization faster. And should there be a network issue—and you don’t know if it’s the hardware, the software or human error—your IT services partner should have deep solution knowledge and be accountable for resolving your issue quickly, no matter where it resides.
4. What if they don’t have the right talent or resources internally?
Many organizations are finding that they don’t have the right skills in-house to deploy and manage new technologies, let alone the resources to quickly transform their infrastructure and keep it running smoothly without disruption.
In fact, 60% of CIOs still reported a skills shortage, according to Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2017. In addition to delivering stable IT performance and increasing operational efficiencies, the top priority for CIOs is to develop innovative new products and services.
Lack of talent, increasing complexity, and the need to rapidly implement innovative digital projects are driving more demand for IT services providers. The key is to find a valued services partner that provides technology expertise and teams with you to understand your business and where the company is going to help enable the business strategy.
The right IT services partner will be there to help you get the most value out of your IT investments to innovate and transform your business.
To learn how Cisco Technical Services can help you navigate successfully on your digital journey, read the IDC Business Value Analysis Solution Support Summary.