Embracing digital transformation as platform for growth

May 25, 2021 || Steve Dalgarno

The global pandemic has shifted organisational perspectives and has brought about change at a rapid rate. With much of the focus turning to using digital solutions to achieve this, decision-makers’ mindset must evolve to better reflect the business requirements of today.

Welcome to the first in a series of articles that we will publish over the next few months, proudly presented by the team at Strategix Technology Solutions.

One of the most significant challenges facing companies over the past twelve months has been trying to effectively adopt a work from anywhere approach while remaining secure and providing an engaging end-user experience. With many organisations rushing to implement stop-gap measures to maintain operations, the focus and future norm must now turn to strengthening the underlying end-user security infrastructure. This is vital as companies look to capitalise on digital transformation across the enterprise and empowering their digital workforce to drive business growth.

To this end, the C-suite must examine the best ways of safeguarding organisational data and systems while still managing a distributed ‘work from home’ workforce. This will require spend to be allocated towards putting robust security solutions in place that cater for employees accessing the corporate network from virtually anywhere, anytime, and across geographic locations. In our opinion the focus on security often fell by the wayside during the rapid adoption stage of a customers’ digital transformation strategy. Especially the first few months of the lockdown saw many companies focused on getting the basics of cloud adoption in place.

But given how the world has entered its second year of the pandemic, and with data as the lifeblood of any organisation, the potential risk of compromise cannot be ignored. Therefore, companies must manage security across the board more efficiently, regardless of whether that is on-premise, in the cloud, or a hybrid environment. And considering the continuously evolving regulatory environment, businesses must show they are doing everything possible to be compliant and keep data secure. One of the ways to do this is by selecting service providers that have all the proper certifications in place to protect sensitive data and ensuring decision-makers are empowered and educated on their legal requirements when it comes to data protection.

Beyond technology If the pandemic has taught decision-makers anything then it is the importance of looking at the human component in the business value chain. Yes, technology is a critical enabler to help unlock value and drive cloud adoption, but it is the people inside the company that must use the solutions. Regardless of what digital transformation initiatives are in place, the first cause of failure is this lack of adoption. As such, it becomes vital to empower employees with the skills needed to optimally use the ‘new’ technologies at their disposal as well as the reasons why they need to do so.

User awareness campaigns, and ongoing education and training are just some of the ways that this can be addressed. All told, companies must become more adept at balancing their drive for technology innovation with people development.

Cloud normal The coming months will see significant uptake when it comes to the cloud. Those businesses who were undecided about the merits of transitioning have realised that this environment will be instrumental to position themselves for growth in a digitally-led landscape.

But the cloud is not a silver bullet that can fix all organisational woes. It is also not one-size-fits-all. Those organisations who approach it as such will quickly realise that they are simply shifting their ‘legacy’ thinking into an online sphere. Instead, this will likely result in costs spiralling out of control due to a lack of system optimisation and employee usage that is not geared for the consumption-based model that guides this environment. We refer to this in the industry as being ready to Fail Fast and not Hard or you can end up in the position of doing both!

Of course, the cloud is necessary to become more agile and go to market faster than competitors, especially from a DevOps perspective. Going on an application modernisation drive will be key in this regard. But to do so effectively requires interventions that form part of the overall business strategy. There must therefore be a clear business case for each application, process, and system that goes to the cloud and those that remain on-premise.

Constant change The new world of cloud computing in South Africa will be driven by a combination of multinational hyperscalers and experienced local service providers who understand the unique market requirements and business needs, such as Strategix.

Customers like choice and options when it comes to their service providers. This will extend into the cloud. A hybrid approach will be the likely business scenario for some time to come. Business leaders must now take a step back and carefully assess the technologies they have implemented over the past year. Now is the time to reposition infrastructure in such a way to benefit both on-premise and cloud solutions while still giving employees the means to work from anywhere.

This is not a once-off process but a continuous one that requires being comfortable with change. Or, at the very least, be aware of the changes necessary to help drive digital transformation across all levels of the organisation while still protecting company data.

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