Margaret Ajibode, Managing Director of Obatec, shares her thoughts on the need to manage the inevitable world of digital transformation in your arena.

Digital transformation is on top of every CIO’s agenda these days. But what is digital transformation and why is it important? Digital transformation is the use of technology to fundamentally improve performance or business.

It is mostly associated with the business world where organisations are striving to keep up with changing business environments brought about by customer demand and technology. Digital tools and technology are changing how people interact, and, in turn, this changes how people do business.

Executives in all industries are using digital advances such as analytics, mobility, social media and smart embedded devices as well as improving their use of traditional technologies such as ERP to change customer relationships, internal processes and value propositions. Others are noticing how fast digital technology has disrupted media industries during the past decade and know they need to pay attention to changes in their industries too.

Organisations are digitally transforming three key areas of their enterprises: customer experience, operational processes and business models. However, the increasing level of complexity that accompanies the fastpaced, cloud-based world of digital requires going back to basics - that is, implementing a solid, modernised IT service management strategy (ITSM), in order to make sure that digital transformation coincides with operational excellence, customer satisfaction and IT agility. It is also important to have strong leadership to drive change and a clear vision for what parts of the company you want to transform.

Then again, when we talk about digital transformation, we tend to focus more on technology; it is easy to think that this alone is the biggest driver of digital transformation. As technology continues to thrive, so must companies.

However, a recent study by MIT Sloan and Deloitte discovered that it may not be technology, but rather strategy, that helps create digitally transformed companies. The MIT study stated that ‘the strength of digital technologies - social, mobile, analytics and cloud- doesn’t lie in the technologies individually.

Instead, it stems from how companies integrate them to transform their businesses and how they work.’ ‘A solid ITSM strategy is important for organisations to succeed at digital transformation because as they “build” their digital engine, they have to make sure customers are happy’ As those services change, whether in complexity or just the pace of change in applications and data and access, they can be more difficult to manage - which requires a significant strategic shift.’

Maybe your organisation is looking to improve customer experiences, develop new products for new segments, and deliver insights and conveniences that will drive growth, or maybe you are working for the one in three enterprises that is not ready for digital transformation, Whatever stage you are at it is important to enable organisational capabilities that drive transformation which means:

  • Rediscover customer needs - Take time to engage customers and prospects to learn their needs, values, frustrations and practices.
  • Prioritise digital practices - Organisations need a top down strategy, but digital transformation is enabled by bottoms-up practices.
  • Drive organisational learning - CIOs must enable the organisation to learn new practices and technologies. Having now understood the need for having in place an eff ective strategy, there are four critical capabilities for successful service management (SM):
  • Make sure your service management is right-sized for the organisation. While issues related to people, process and technology are standard for developing service management capabilities, the most important aspect is to make sure they are right-sized for the needs of the organisation; service management has to be appropriate for a specific environment.
  • Organisational change is critical. Service management is the glue, or the connective tissue of the organisation. When performed well, it connects organisational groups to a single end; delivering quality services. The organisation as a culture needs to be willing to change and adopt the right service management capabilities, processes and metrics.
  • Use the right tools to automate IT service management (ITSM) strategy. The right next-generation cloud-based automation platform and tools can help organisations better execute ITSM more effectively with better visibility and efficiency.
  • Do not treat IT service management strategy (ITSM) as having a beginning and end, but as being a rolling roadmap. It should be treated as a journey; it should focus on near-term advancement and foundations that keep getting measured and added to.