Six mistakes that slows digital transformation

Six mistakes that slows digital transformation

There are digital leaders and laggards. Most are somewhere in between. A few years ago, digital was seen as something theoretical, an optional challenge, and the next manager’s problem. Organizations that are not moving in a digital direction – fast – will struggle to stay relevant in the modern economy.

Cognizant has surveyed 2.491 business- and technology leaders all over the world. Based on the findings, we have identified six common mistakes that slows digital transformation.


1. Assume things will get easier

Don’t believe you’re done with the digital initiatives after you’ve gone through the trouble of migrating to the cloud, ran a lot of digital pilots and figured out what technology will yield return. Most businesses have a solid foundation. That’s great! But you’re just getting started. Our research shows that the largest gap between beginners and leaders is in fulfilling customer expectations for a fully personalized experience. It’s not easy, but it’s crucial to remain relevant.

2. Consider software an IT problem

When members of the IT tribe talk to members of the business tribe, and use words like DevOps, Agile, Hadoop and Waterfall, the business tribe tends to either nod off or head for the door. That may have worked in the past, but in the modern economy, it’s all about code. Software is everyone’s concern, because it is how business gets done. Large platform players will continue to grow in power as they orchestrate communications, retail, mobility and much more. Other companies will use software to improve customer experiences and get more productivity of their office work. The details of how you use software to compete and win will be specific to your company. But one thing is certain – software will only get more essential to creating value.Organizations working together will create the best and most useful software. Businesses that maintain traditional barriers, that make anything to do with code exclusively an IT problem, will soon face struggles.

3. Ignore your data

Our study findings, work with clients and other research show that organizations are struggling to make sense of mountains of data packed away in Excel files and data centers. There are many paths to value with data, and yours will depend on what process or experience you’re trying to impact, but there are two common steps that must be taken.

  • First, don’t ignore it. Data is called the new oil because it means more to business now than ever. The value of information will only increase.
  • Second, use it. Most data – whether it’s sales reports, transaction records, shipping orders, customer surveys or logs from an online experience – is simply sitting there. To harness it, manage it, turn it into something that you can actually use, you need to act on it. 

A majority of business executives told us they’re getting a good ROI for investments in data management. Modern data management is among the most important steps any company can take to win in the new economy.

Unfortunately, it is complicated to clean up unstructured data. There are, however, realistic steps you can take to modernize your current data architecture, and there are tools you can use to make that much less painful than you can imagine. Do that. The worst thing you can do is just leave it alone and hope for the best. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE RESEARCH.

4. Wait for AI to ‘happen’

The potential business impact from AI seems explosive, but we’re clearly still in the early adoption stage. Our research shows that the 47 per cent of respondents who said they’re making significant investments in AI, almost 60 per cent believe the ROI is significant. A dollar invested in AI leads to great return for those willing to place their bets. However, when we asked about which types of innovation are hardest to manage, 42 per cent of the respondents answered “harnessing AI and analytics”. Value is being generated, but it’s not always simple. Expectations for AI to impact the business are still high, and money is flowing into figuring out how to apply AI at scale. A head-in-the-sand approach, waiting for yet another study or timing the market is never a good long-term bet. Smart companies will draft behind the big spenders, launch a dozen of pilots, and be ready fail fast and move on.

5. Take your time

It is not easy to make processes to go fasters, but for the winners of the modern economy, speed is life. Our study shows that if a company is slowed down now, it’s not necessarily too late, but the economy is increasingly against you. It’s clear that companies are already separating from the pack based on how they deploy new technologies for growth and savings. The chasm between winners and losers is growing at an alarming rate. The longer you take to catch up, the wider the gap you have to close.

Panic is never a good business strategy, but at this point, shorting technology for growth is actually the riskiest bet you can make.

6. Treat this organizational change like any other project

The final common mistake to make is to think pivoting to digital is just like any previous technology project. In most projects, there’s a beginning, middle and end. However, whether you look at data from Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work, the World Economic Forum, the McKinsey Global Institute or any other credible source, it’s clear that technology is becoming increasingly more important to business, not less. This is an ongoing secular shift, not a single IT project or subtle process re-engineering project.

Trying to apply automation and AI to a single business process is a good start, but remember, you will need to do this for nearly every process. If your organization has migrated certain workloads to the cloud, great, but most have a long way to go toward being all-encompassing. Using modern software engineering techniques for your mobile app is the way to go, but the future of software requires new organizational structures and methods for creating and managing code.

The point is, becoming truly fit for the modern economy is not a project – like a crash diet – it’s a new healthy habit to develop. The longer you wait, the tougher it gets.


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