Big transformations take time and dedication. Caterpillars seal themselves off in a cocoon for days to develop into butterflies. You can’t seal your business off from the outside world, and unlike the caterpillar’s transformation, the digital transformation process doesn’t happen automatically; it requires thought and active participation to work through the challenges.

Technical Challenges in Digital Transformation

The first word is “digital,” so obviously focusing on technology is a big part of the effort in achieving digital transformation. Challenges include:

Overwhelming complexity. No matter how carefully your existing infrastructure was planned, it’s likely it didn’t completely adhere to a plan as time went on. There’s probably a complicated mix of technology, some the result of experimentation, some the result of attempting to satisfy conflicting departmental requirements. Untangling that mix to rationalize it, plus integrating new technology to provide new capabilities, requires time to investigate, assess, and make decisions.

Overwhelming data. Much of digital transformation depends on making better use of data. This requires a complete review of your current data, ensuring models are complete and consistent, and that potentially valuable data isn’t being discarded. It may require an effort to repair data stores where data is incomplete or incorrect. It requires developing new approaches to working with big data.

Resistance to change. Your people’s attitudes to change are important (and discussed below), but your existing technology may also be resistant to change. Existing systems don’t always have APIs or other means of receiving data or requests from other applications. They may be structured in ways that mean they can’t take advantage of the cloud’s ability to scale on demand. Your development process may be slow and linear, meaning it can’t adapt to the agility offered by the cloud.

Security in a world of sharing. The cloud is all about shared resources and outsourced support. That means security is more complex to manage, as your team doesn’t have access to all the resources; in addition, applications communicate through APIs that need to be protected. You need to develop new strategies that provide comprehensive protection to applications and data wherever they reside.

Non-Technical Challenges in Digital Transformation

While introducing new technology requires sophisticated technical skills, not all challenges in digital transformation are due to the technology:

Resistance to change. People often aren’t as easy to reprogram as systems. Not everyone will be open and accepting to the new world created by digital transformation. Processes will change, more time may be spent looking things up online, and decisions become driven by data, not intuition. Some employees can’t make that change. Overcoming resistance requires paying strong attention to training and working on cultural issues.

Deciding priorities.  You won’t know if you’re successful if you aren’t sure what you’re trying to accomplish by the digital transformation. Streamlining processes, using data more effectively, and leveraging new technology are all worthy goals, but which is the most important to your business? It’s best to figure that out before you start investigating cloud, artificial intelligence, and other hot technologies that enable digital transformation.

You can find guidance on how to overcome the non-technical challenges, but ultimately, that work will be driven by your team and your insight into your business operations and your staff. For help overcoming the technical challenges of digital transformation, contact the team at VAST IT Services. We provide assistance in developing and implementing transformation strategies that help businesses achieve new levels of success.

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