The Stack Archive Article

Secrets of digital transformation success

Mon 19 Sep 2016

Why the entire enterprise needs to be involved in digital transformation

Not only is digital transformation here to stay, but the pace is increasing. If you happen to be in an industry that hasn’t yet been disrupted by this new wave of technology then you’d better brace yourself. Disruption is coming, whether you’re ready for it or not.

The good news is that digital transformation presents tremendous new opportunities, from the chance to rethink entire business processes to entering new markets and finding new ways to serve customers.
Who wins and who loses from digital disruption is not down to chance. Those who consider themselves to be digital leaders do things differently from the rest of the pack. And they understand that digital transformation is not a one-off but a constant process. According to IDC, having disrupted their competitors they feel vulnerable to disruption themselves.
But with the right approach it’s possible to be a digital winner rather than an also-ran. So what do digital leaders do differently?

First, they recognize that network planning and digital planning are not two separate processes. Many enterprises make the mistake of treating them separately, with the network handled by the IT department and the rest by relatively new digital roles, sometimes even by the marketing department.

Network leaders integrate these two functions into a single digital transformation process. By aligning strategy, technology selection, investment and implementation, they are more likely to produce a network that genuinely supports the needs of the business and can adapt to change.

You can follow the digital leaders by building inclusiveness across departments, units and geographic locations. Digital transformation needs to be discussed openly and across the enterprise to find commonality when setting budgets. And an opex-driven approach should be taken to enjoy on demand, flexible and pay-as-you-go pricing.

Digital leaders are using new technologies to reinvent the traditional IT network. For example, some are turning to Virtual Network Services (VNS) to transform physical networks into on-demand virtual networks, simplify network architectures and replace multiple purpose-built hardware devices serving independent network functions with a single box in each location. Services like Verizon’s VNS create a network that can be dynamically changed to suit the needs not only of the business, but of individual users.

Virtual Network Services significantly increases the speed at which a product or service can be introduced, worldwide. It controls and improves traffic flow across the network and optimizes the treatment of specific traffic types.
They also leverage SDN to improve performance, reinvent business processes and compete more effectively. SDN virtualizes a wide variety of hardware functions, reducing capital expenditure, reducing vendor lock-in and dramatically reducing the time it takes to set up new systems. A new security layer, for example, can be requested via an online portal and installed in minutes, versus a wait of weeks or even months for physical hardware to be sourced, delivered and configured.

But digital leaders recognize that they too are vulnerable to disruption. They point to security concerns, inadequate network resources, a complex technology and partner landscape and inadequate skills as primary obstacles to digital progress. New technologies such as SDN and VNS offer enormous potential and, properly implemented, can address these concerns. But they require new skills and ways of working in order to get the most out of them. Often that means finding the right partner to help solve the new and sometimes complex security, networking and integration challenges that can otherwise impede digital progress. It’s a topic we tackled in a recent infopaper.

Like any change, digital transformation can be a daunting prospect. But with the right approach and the right partner, you can enjoy the full potential and unlock the ROI it should achieve.

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