Over the past decade, large companies across industry lines have been hyper-focused on modernizing their IT systems, integrating cutting-edge technologies and future-proofing their data storage infrastructure. This process of digital transformation offers many benefits, from increased data security and resilience to improved productivity and substantial cost savings. According to a 2018 survey from Tech Pro Research, a staggering 70% of respondents said their companies either had a digital transformation plan in place or were working on developing one.
Despite the push for new applications, cloud computing capabilities and other innovative advancements, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, many companies fail to bring their vision into focus. In fact, research from McKinsey & Company discovered that 70% of "complex, large-scale change programs" don't end up meeting their stated goals, leading to wasted spending, unplanned downtime and mismatched applications. To help enterprises plan for success, we've pulled together five common pitfalls of digital transformation that IT and business leaders must consider.
1. Poor planning and preparation
Digital transformation has become a sort of catch-all term for a wide variety of IT-focused projects, such as cloud integration, process automation, IoT deployment, voice-over-IP systems and more. Before enterprises set out to modernize their applications and bring in new functionality, IT leaders must develop clear goals and expectations to ensure the changes will deliver real, tangible results. This includes performing a thorough IT assessment, identifying specific technological needs and working with different departments to streamline the implementation phase. As noted by Michael Higgins, founder and CEO of PurchaseControl and Forbes Councils member, effective digital transformation relies on creating clear strategies supported by top-down adoption and buy-in from key decision-makers.
2. Lack of collaboration between departments
In some cases, digital transformation is left up to members of the IT department without much input from other business units. This approach can introduce gaps and weaknesses in an enterprise's wider IT framework. Without an understanding of how new applications and technologies will be leveraged by employees in different departments, companies may end up paying for functionality that no one will actually use. This issue was highlighted by a 2019 report from the global technology firm Symantec, which found that the average organization believes its employees are using around 452 cloud apps. In reality, Symantec's research found the number of cloud applications in use is closer to 1,807 per organization, which is nearly 4 times higher than respondents' estimates. To ensure all digital transformation efforts improve some facet of daily operations, enterprises must bring IT, marketing, data management and business professionals to the table.
3. Lack of in-house IT skills and expertise
Almost all digital transformation initiatives require extensive IT knowledge and experience, which is why enterprises need to develop in-house talent that can help manage change and reduce unplanned downtime across the organization. Alongside the IT department's expertise, employees in other business units must also receive training to ensure new applications are used effectively. According to a separate McKinsey & Company survey, respondents were 1.5 times more likely to support their companies' digital transformation when their individual roles and responsibilities were redefined to better align with the stated transformation goals. While in-house upskilling is a top priority, business leaders must also be careful about the technology vendors they work with. For example, choosing to bring on an innovative startup company may allow enterprises to capitalize on bleeding-edge solutions, but smaller vendors may struggle to offer the best-in-class support many enterprises expect.
4. Mismatched or outdated IT infrastructure
Enterprises need strong, reliable network infrastructure to support the integration of new technologies, including IoT, robotic process automation, data analytics and more. Companies that host their own data centers on premises often have to invest in new hardware to scale up their capabilities, whereas those that outsource data storage to third-party vendors often lack visibility and control over their information. This is one reason why infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is picking up steam - companies like Microsoft and Amazon operate thousands of data centers across the U.S. and are leaders in the IT industry, meaning they're trusted partners.
Of course, some organizations simply can't make the switch to cloud-based storage, whether due to security concerns, industry regulations or some other privacy law, like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In these cases, IT leaders must find ways to optimize their networking hardware and software to maximize efficiency and reduce downtime.
Luckily, Perle offers industrial-grade connectivity equipment that can help companies streamline their digital transformation projects and future-proof their operations. Our powerful Ethernet switches and console servers can be used to remotely reconfigure, reboot and reimage across the internet or WANs, ensuring maximum visibility and control over your physical storage environment. Read some of our customer stories to find out how we've helped other companies improve their infrastructure and stay connected when it mattered most.