Prior to the pandemic, digital transformation was a buzz word that made enterprises future ready. But the speed of adoption by enterprises remained variable and various models justified rapid, moderate or gradual pace of adoption. The arrival of the pandemic changed all that.
No longer was moderate or gradual pace of adoption an option. Rapid digital transformation became mandatory for survival and resilience of enterprises. No business could function with legacy systems anymore and tools to collaborate remote workers and cloud-based business applications were adopted in succession.
A triple whammy continues to challenge IT decision making
Today, post the pandemic the global business landscape is being impacted by multiple geopolitical factors, a conflict in the European theatre, multiple swings in the availability of commodities and a surge of inflationary pressure.
A triple whammy continues to challenge IT decision making. Stretched availability of digital and cyber security skills, disconnected global supply chains, backlog of semiconductor production, are all adding to the challenges of coping with a possible recession and impacting any feel-good corporate and business sentiment.
This is the time for IT decision makers to relook at their digital transformation roadmaps and review interrupted initiatives
This is the time for IT decision makers to relook at their digital transformation roadmaps, review interrupted initiatives, review areas where gains have been made, and accelerate initiatives where gains can be reinvested into cyclic progress.
Any effort put into reviewing and accelerating digital transformation at this stage can only boost an enterprises market competitiveness and build resilience to ride out the recession.
Aligning with finance
The impact of these pressures on IT decision makers varies by industry and region. Waiting to see which way the tide moves is not an option and pressures are only likely to increase. It is important to review the annual spending plan, prioritising those initiatives that have the maximum impact on high value business results.
Identify looming inefficiencies and attempt to target additional costs reductions under the future digital transformation road map. Recognise the widening gap between the CFO and IT decision makers especially as external pressure builds up.
Digital transformation initiatives are likely to be interrupted if the gap widens between finance and technology. On the other hand, enterprise-wide initiatives and gains are likely to be appreciated and supported rather than limited scale initiatives. It is imperative to keep the bridge secure between finance and IT through-out a recessionary phase.
Prioritise automation and value creation
At this stage it is important to create more digital products and services that can boost customer and employee experience. Automation can help to improve productivity, reduce operating costs, and create opportunities for high-cost talent to be deployed in areas which give a better return on their costs. The focus of automation should be to permanently reduce operating costs of the enterprise.
Cloud adoption should always remain a priority, which constantly reduces energy consumption inside the datacentre while creating agility and resilience for the enterprise. Relook at collaboration processes and workflows, constantly striving for improvement by making them faster and simpler.
Digital transformation initiatives are likely to be interrupted if the gap widens between finance and technology
Keep a trade-off list handy for resources and spending and keep reviewing the items on the list building justifications for top management approval and buy-in when it is required.
The discussion should always move towards demonstrating value gained for the overall organisation through spending on digital transformation. Spending must be preserved to ensure critical digital transformation initiatives move forward.
Securing digital talent
Recessionary forces can trigger the release of unforeseen talent into the market. Be prepared to snap up talent based on internal gaps and future requirements. In parallel relook at the utilisation of talent inside the enterprise by location; full time versus part-time; employed versus contracted. Enterprises must ensure they are in the right position to attract and retain the right digital talent.
Digital talent must be focussed on strategic initiatives such as reimagining customer and employee experience journeys today; predictive and autonomous digital projects; meeting expectations of customers a few years from now. Majority of boards believe improved customer loyalty should be a top outcome from a digital transformation journey.
With the arrival of new tools such as Metaverse, digital twins, and mixed reality experiences at scale, we might also be heading for a perfect shower of solutions to ride out a recession. Time will tell!