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When it comes to technology, one thing is true: change is constant. In fact, technology today is changing faster than ever before. It changes the way we pay, shop, interact with other people, and even how we work. For businesses, this means they have to adapt — and fast — to exceed their shoppers' expectations by providing an outstanding omni-channel and digitally supported customer experience. Companies across all industries have to constantly push the innovation envelope to reach new customers and keep existing ones from wandering off to the competition. 

Despite the political and economic uncertainties within the past 12 months, CEOs around the globe are prioritizing growth (58%) — a huge jump from last year's 42%.  These growth innovations to improve customer experience and save costs are commonly known as "Digital Business Transformation" and often target a plethora of opportunities to outpace your competitors and reap untold savings. But achieving successful transformation is a journey full of potential roadblocks. In this blog we look at what those roadblocks are, and how to avoid them.

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Compared to only a few years ago, it is safe to say that Executive management better understands digital business strategy . In fact, for the first time in the history of the Gartner CEO survey, CEOs have named IT-related goals the second priority. Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow, summarizes it as follows: 

Almost twice as many CEOs are intent on building up in-house technology and digital capabilities as those plan on outsourcing it (57% and 29%, respectively). We refer to this trend as the reinternalization of IT — bringing information technology capability back toward the core of the enterprise because of its renewed importance to competitive advantage. This is the building up of new-era technology skills and capabilities."

However, while CEOs and others in the C-suite continue to push for change on a massive scale, even large organizations are suffering from a lack of agility, overgrown budgets, and inflexible organizational structures that inhibit Digital Business Transformation. Today, we are going to take a look at the most common, but also the most impactful challenges your IT team might face in the coming 12-18 months that could prevent you from successfully enabling your Digital Business Transformation efforts.

Operation vs Transformation 

Today's Chief Information Officers (CIOs) — tomorrow's Chief Innovation Officers — are being pulled in a variety of different directions, from the line-level staff who are constantly frustrated with their aging hardware estate and ill-managed, overgrown application portfolio, to the forward-looking executives who can see what smaller and more nimble organizations are able to accomplish with what they perceive to be a fraction of your budget.

Unfortunately, what many business leaders don't realize is that there is a monumental cost associated with simply keeping the lights on — maintaining legacy systems, software patches, help desk support, and minimal upgrade requests for new functionality.

Finding the space to dream big about the future requires time away from the day-to-day operations that can drain technology teams of their drive simply due to the overwhelming amount of time spent on operational activities. The increased focus on digital transformation can cause a heavy burden on already overtaxed IT departments, leading to staff burnout and a lack of focus in any particular direction.

Stagnant IT Budgets & Hiring Stalemates

Economic uncertainty paired with a shift in focus to marketing initiatives has caused many IT budgets to flatline for 2017 and beyond, just at a time when CIOs and other technology leaders are seeking additional investments for the future. With that, of course, comes more restrictive hiring or even personnel cuts — leaving you struggling to figure out how your team can accomplish more with fewer hands. 

While revenue is gaining some ground for the year, in many cases business leaders are utilizing revenue to shore up physical assets or provide a cushion for the future instead of directly investing in technology. The rising costs of information security and the need to focus in this direction, caused by the overabundance of malware, phishing scams and ransomware, are adding stress to IT budgets that have already been slimmed down over the past few years.

Business Units Going Rogue Leading To Shadow IT Organizations

In the past, many business units have been frustrated with IT. They perceive technology as being unable to keep up with the required speed of transformation, leading to departments going rogue and create their own "Shadow IT" organizations. 

When these issues surface, it's generally because a business unit has managed to get in over it's head and essentially needs a bailout from the technology professionals — yet again splitting the focus and creating mass chaos throughout the organization.

Aside from the challenges of governance around rogue IT, there are serious concerns about system integrity and security due to improperly vetted solutions and poor implementation that often impacts multiple business units across the organization.

... And Application Sprawl

While rogue departments are a problem in some organizations without strong IT oversight, nearly every business has a degree of application sprawl that could be addressed through consolidation of services.

Whether this manifests itself as multiple voice conferencing applications, each department using different text messaging or instant messaging apps or even various versions of productivity suites, application sprawl adds massive levels of complexity to any upgrade or digital transformation project.

The importance of consolidated and cohesive communication is a key initiative for many CIOs in the next few years, as organizations attempt to craft a complex and differentiated journey for their prospects and customers. Maintaining on-premise communications platforms erodes the budget, but can also take the spotlight away from truly transformative projects.

Focus on Flexible, Agile Environments

Providing IT leaders with the budget and space to create tomorrow's flexible and agile infrastructure is critical to business success, as is maintaining sufficient levels of technical human capital.

When organizational leaders are able to work closely together to define strategic initiatives, the focus is less on the technology required to support operations and more on creating the agile infrastructure and decision frameworks that provide the backbone for ongoing innovation.

True transformative change is more likely to occur when business and technology leaders are operating in tandem, with business initiatives driving and helping justify the additional spending to create the flexible digital underpinnings required for the future.

Productivity-as-a-Service

Microsoft is making strides to simplify deployment on new devices as well as synchronizing its upgrade release schedule across Windows 10, Office 365, and SCCM. With Windows 10 becoming an OS-as-a-Service, productivity increases as features change gradually and over time, application compatibility has significantly improved, and deployment requirements continue to shrink as the upgrade process scales more effectively.

The additional security measures available with this latest version of Windows may be enough to induce organizations to make a move, with Microsoft claiming a 58% reduction in ransomware from upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10 alone. The ease of upgrade is particularly important in organizations that have an aging hardware estate and a variety of different apps deployed across a broad user base.

Conclusion

Creating an agile, continuously-managed and -improving IT organization, a so-called Evergreen IT organization, can be challenging, but it is certainly achievable if you, for example:

  • Provide your technical resources with automation opportunities wherever possible to create space by reducing time-consuming manual tasks.
  • Cut down labor and time during your upgrades and app testing by having a centralized repository of all relevant and actionable application infomation.
  • Enable your team members, executive management, business managers, and other stakeholders to access all relevant information in centralized dashboards and data warehouses. 

Want to see this concept in action? Schedule your demo today and see how Juriba's IT Transformation tool, Dashworks, becomes your central command and control center and effectively providing you with a single version of the project truth, reigning in any spreadsheet mess and even allows you to boost end user happiness with self service and communication automation!

Click here to request a Juriba Dashworks demo

Barry Angell

Written by Barry Angell

Barry is a co-founder of Juriba, where he is focused on using his experience in IT migration to help drive product strategy, pre-sales and service delivery. He is an experienced End User Services executive that has helped manage thousands of users, computers, applications and mailboxes to their next IT platform. He has saved millions of dollars for internal departments and customers alike through product, project, process and service delivery efficiency.

Topics: IT Strategy Evergreen IT Virtual Desktop Infrastructure