Digital transformation is the adoption and utilization of technological innovation to create digital business models that improve operational efficiencies and enhance customer experience. Today, digital transformation solutions are being adopted by enterprises operating across industries. These solutions may soon become the difference between losing and winning for companies, especially in sectors undergoing rapid modernization—such as manufacturing, finance, and governance.
Many companies that were leaders in their respective sectors at one time are now either extinct or close to shutting shop. A prominent example of this is the American company Toys “R” Us, which was once a massively successful toys store chain but was recently out of business. Its decline can be attributed to Amazon and other online retailers that disrupted the retail market with lower prices, greater selections, and improved customer experiences. Young companies like Uber, Stripe, and Airbnb are other major disruptors in their respective industries, where they are using digital platforms to overtake their competitors rapidly. The last decade has proven that innovative disruptors leverage digital transformation to shake up entire industries, and enterprises that follow their example show success in surviving the digital onslaught.
The Importance of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is a prime example of the adage, ‘change is the only constant.’ The exponential growth of digital innovation and the staggering number of new technologies—such as smartphones, social media, IoT, artificial intelligence, Big Data analytics, managed services, 3D printing, virtual reality, live streaming, and autonomous vehicles—have enabled the creation of digital business models in numerous industries. Consumers are increasingly accepting this revolution, and their expectations are increasing accordingly. Today, any company that is not leveraging digital innovation to its fullest capacity is losing at least some of its customers to digitally-aware competitors.
Implementation of Digital Transformation
While digital transformation might sound like a simple task theoretically, putting it into action is not necessarily easy. In practice, digital transformation involves taking proactive measures for the incorporation of digital technologies into daily business operations. This often translates to making ‘uncomfortable’ changes in business processes as well as reconsidering business solutions that have worked great for the company in the past. Digital transformation moves technology to the center of business operations and turns IT into a critical component of corporate strategy.
The core IT areas that can aid in the implementation of digital transformation are as follows:
Internet of Things
No digital platform is complete without having
the capacity to connect, exchange data, and interact with a network of ‘things’
such as vehicles, devices, appliances, drones, electronics, connectivity
equipment, and actuators.
Microservices are a technique for software development in which modular fine-grained services are built to expertly execute a specific activity each. Business capabilities are considered when organizing these services. Microservices are independently deployable, scalable, upgradable, replaceable, and fault-tolerant, and run in a single process. They operate on the assumption that the output of each service is the input for another service. Microservices allow for the agile development of new business applications.
A key aspect of digital transformation is an API (Application Programming Interface) environment. APIs are components that allow service providers to digitally interact with both external and internal customers. API management platforms let users rapidly create digital assets, laying the foundation for a complete digital business ecosystem.
Identity and Access Management (IAM)
When a business adopts multiple digital technologies, security can become a challenge. The efficient authorization and authentication of each and every device requires a platform for SSO (Single Sign-On) and identity federation with end-to-end support for robust and adaptive authentication. With IAM solutions, businesses can secure access to endpoints and applications, federate identities, and bridge identity protocols across cloud and on-premise environments.
Analytics and Events Stream Processor
Digital transformation brings with it added advantages for employers, such as being able to keep a record of employee activities with ease, define metrics, make data-driven business decisions, and measure success. With Analytics and Events Stream Processors, enterprises gain access to intelligent, real-time, and actionable business insights. Stream processors enable the collection of events in multiple formats and through multiple transports. They make use of streaming SQL (Structured Query Language) to detect complex events, process streams, make predictions using ML (Machine Learning) models, and calculate time-based aggregations.
Users can make enterprise data more accessible through integration middleware that is optimized for centralized as well as decentralized ESBs (Enterprise Service Bus). Such solutions integrate data, digital services, proprietary & legacy systems, and SaaS applications, and enable more efficient creation of system integrations.
How to Optimize Digital Transformation?
Users beginning their digital transformation journeys and leveraging the above core IT technologies may be able to quicken the results of their transformation efforts by considering the following steps:
- Implementation of a ‘cloud first’ IT strategy that provides fault-tolerance, scalability, security, cost-saving, productivity, and reliability
- Making use of an open standards, open-source middleware platform that leverages the core technologies mentioned above, reducing the chances of being locked into costly proprietary solutions
- Unburdening IT teams of their reactive responsibilities by using automation and managed services in order to reduce operational costs
- Adopt DevOps and Agile Development to address dynamic business demands and enable quicker delivery time to market
There lies tremendous value in implementing the right combination of processes and solutions during digital transformation to meet long-term technological needs of organizations. Through effective digital transformation, users can create an agile enterprise that responds rapidly to changing competitive conditions, guards against disruption, and ultimately achieves success.