Over the past decade, businesses looking to gain a competitive advantage have turned to digital transformation as the ultimate, future-proofing solution.
They quickly stocked up on as many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products as they could in an attempt to transform faster than their competitors, often after being promised out-of-the-box results.
The problem is that 70% of digital transformation projects have been failing and the question all business leaders now need to self-evaluate against is: does my large SaaS-based technology stack, or indeed my large public-cloud based technology, achieve what it was that we set out to do?
The chances are it doesn’t, and here’s why.
Digital transformation: expectations vs. reality
The tunnel-visioned approach to transformation which dominated many industries during the 2010s has had two distinct outcomes, both of which now need reassessment.
The first mistake was that digital transformation was the destination, with technology the means by which you’re able to reach it, rather than the truth which is that technology is merely the enabler to achieving your business’ goals. Digital transformation is an ever-evolving journey geared towards outcomes – or at least it should be – it’s rarely the last piece of the puzzle.
The second was, in this rush to digitally transform, large technology stacks have become prevalent and burdensome. This has led to SaaS sprawl and a general lack of accountability amongst dozens of competing vendors and partners – not to mention ever-increasing OPEX.
So, what is it that most businesses want to achieve? The answer is improved outcomes for their customers, their customer’s customers, and/or their employees that don’t cost the earth and commit them to a single technology forever.
The state of play in Australia
There’s industry talk implying a vendor-heavy supply chain or technology stack is costing IT teams in time and maintenance – taking their energy away from innovation.
It’s this ‘keeping the lights on’ mentality that not only impacts the reputation of IT teams but makes recruitment and retention in an already resource-drained sector a nightmare. And with Australia recently ranking second last on Infosys’s Digital Maturity Index, it’s clear there’s a long way to go in recognising our nation’s transformation ambitions.
In a paradigm where transformation is often categorised as the be-all and end-all of organisational achievement, it’s important to understand what’s really at stake: service transformation.
Service transformation is about improving customer outcomes
By focusing on service transformation rather than digital transformation, you’re effectively transferring your priorities to the outcome, rather than the means to achieving the outcome.
It frees up business leaders to consider not just one, but many options – SaaS or cloud-delivered doesn’t always mean better – and adopting a hybrid IT model allows businesses to examine many technologies at once and assess how they all can and could contribute to an improvement in service delivery. Not only that, you’re able to assess how secure your data is, whether you have effective disaster recovery and back-up plans, as well as what new platforms can integrate and fit your models without having to go through root-and-brand process reviews.
Service transformation involves critical assessment of each element of the customer experience and the technologies that deliver it. It’s a whole-of-business approach that needs to look at IT infrastructure, networking, unified communications, security, and applications, which re-thinks an organisation’s services to deliver a desired outcome.
If this seems like an overwhelming prospect, it needn’t be, because there are many independent, whole-of-business Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that will enable you to tackle this higher goal who aren’t wholly influenced by the wider market.
Working with them, you can not only deliver the right solution for your business but have a point of accountability that currently is muddled or spread. Helpfully, MSPs can also solve the ‘keeping the lights on’ fatigue which plagues many Australian IT teams, because they can be freed from administration and maintenance to focus on innovations that will improve both the customer and employee experience.