By Richard Blewitt
The COVID-19 crisis has caused massive disruption globally and affected organisations quickly and severely, forcing them to respond with remarkable speed. Necessity has indeed sparked invention as they have scrambled to adapt to the extraordinary circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, and many companies have had to fast-track their digital transformation due to a dramatic shift towards the adoption of digital technologies to reduce face-to-face interactions—examples of this include e-commerce apps for online shopping and technologies that facilitate remote work.
Many companies rapidly developed at least temporary solutions to cope with new demands; however, according to IDC, companies that were further along in their digital transformation efforts in 2020 were able to respond more successfully to the crisis. McKinsey argues that the adoption of digital technologies across different sectors has been accelerated by several years, and they predict that many of these changes are here to stay.
What is digital transformation?
In the 2020 Digital Disruption Index, Deloitte broadly defines digital transformation as the ‘end-to-end business transformation of an organisation stretching from strategy to operations, and from leadership to enterprise-wide culture’. It encompasses people, technology, data, processes, and organisational change, and requires fundamental shifts in the way companies operate and deliver value.
Typically, organisations embark on a digital transformation journey to drive growth and sustainability, improve productivity, and deliver a more engaging customer (and employee) experience; however, many digital transformation initiatives fail to reach these goals. This is often due to companies taking a fragmented approach and implementing specific digital technologies to solve individual business problems, rather than reimagining the business as a whole, based on what customers need and developing a clear digital strategy supported by the leadership and culture to foster change and drive transformation.
Pillars of successful transformation
The World Economic Forum and Bain & Company have developed a framework based on four pillars that support successful digital transformation. A company contemplating digital transformation should start by determining where their industry is heading and where the business should be going (despite the current climate of uncertainty), developing a transformation strategy, and aligning its people around it. Next, it should reimagine its business model based on customer needs. The third step is for the business to examine how the enablers that drive transformation—current data, technology, operating models, and talent—enable or hamper digital progress, and finally, it should consider orchestration, or how to manage the transformational change.
While it is clear that organisations need to transform themselves to move beyond resilience and deliver new competitive advantage, budget restrictions, increasingly complex IT environments and limited in-house skills are hampering these efforts, as many businesses attempt to do more with less.
Engaging strategic partners to close capability gaps
The need for businesses to be agile, innovative and data-savvy is obvious; however, digital transformation is complex and characterised by uncertainty. Many South African companies lack the skills to take advantage of digital technologies and new ways of working. Building the skills to realise a transformation strategy is costly and time-consuming, and in an economic downturn, businesses need to focus their resources more carefully than ever. Few companies can transform themselves alone, and selecting the right transformation partners with the specialised skills and capabilities to help reimagine their business and technology while mitigating risk can make all the difference.
Aptronics has the experience, expertise, and portfolio of capabilities to assist businesses in transforming themselves digitally. Aptronics’s consultative approach focuses on understanding its customers’ current and future business challenges and goals and rethinking how technology can be used to provide flexible, scalable solutions that can reduce costs and deliver real business value.
Aptronics can assist with advisory services and business transformation strategy development to help companies innovate and transform their business models to remain relevant and competitive, and improve their customer experience.
Every business will need to make systems and technology an integral part of its business strategy to manage costs, streamline operations, remain sustainable, and gain a competitive edge. Data analytics, cloud, and cybersecurity are widely regarded as the most important transformation technologies. Aptronics is positioned to help businesses build the data and analytics capabilities necessary to provide critical insights, improve products and services, inform decision-making, tackle complex problems, address trends and create customer value. It has the right combination of skills and experience to integrate digital technologies, such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud, and manage both legacy IT and modern infrastructures.
Aptronics has a long-standing relationship with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), a global, edge-to-cloud Platform-as-a-Service company built to transform businesses by helping them to connect, protect, analyse, and act on all their data and applications, from the edge to the cloud. HPE’s portfolio includes cloud, security, IoT, mobility, and infrastructure.
Cloud is at the heart of digital transformation and has fundamentally changed expectations around IT. Companies need to act with speed and agility, and dynamically compose resources based on business demands. When faced with budget constraints, businesses are considering moving from CapEx to flexible OpEx models to support their transformation. HPE’s GreenLake infrastructure services allow organisations to operate their IT on-premise while taking advantage of the benefits of the public cloud. HPE GreenLake is a scalable IT infrastructure service that provides a consumption-based model that is aligned to capacity usage. This allows businesses to easily scale up to handle fluctuations in demand and market conditions while reducing IT department complexity and lowering the total cost of ownership Aptronics is an HPE Platinum partner which means it is a strategic and committed partner and trusted advisor, and its team of specialists are recognised for their technical expertise and business acumen, which enables them to solve tough customer challenges using the latest HPE innovations. To find out more, or to discuss how Aptronics can assist you with your business transformation journey, contact us.