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Beyond the Digital Transformation Buzz: Q&A with Adam Holtby of Ovum

Posted by on April 26, 2018

Beyond the Digital Transformation Buzz: Q&A with Adam Holtby of Ovum

It’s no secret that digital transformation is enjoying a lot of hype across the business landscape these days. And it’s certainly not unwarranted; digital transformation is key to surviving and thriving  in the ever-evolving digital wilderness.

But in order craft a successful digital transformation strategy, IT and other business leaders need to get beyond the buzz.

As Adam Holtby, Senior Research Analyst at Ovum, recently told us: “Digital transformation is often discussed as a universal concept, but it can mean very different things to different organizations. With all the hype and industry commentary, making sense of the noise in a contextually relevant fashion is critical for organizations looking to develop and execute against a digital strategy.”

How can you cut through the chatter? From Adam’s perspective, digital transformation embodies many different areas and themes and the business-specific importance attached to each of them depends on multiple factors.

Adam recently shared many of his thoughts on this topic during a session at our Chewell EMEA Conference (CEC). And we sat down with him to dig a little deeper into those themes, as well as get his thoughts on how IT and ITSM fits in the strategic digital transformation mix.

Q&A with Adam Holtby

Q: What are some of the key digital transformation themes and objectives businesses need to consider?

Adam HoltbyA: Executing against a digital strategy requires organizations to consider multiple elements, with improving employee connectivity, developing how people communicate and collaborate, and democratizing data and information being key themes of importance in the realms of mobility. Protecting and preserving businesses from new entrants and digital disruptors represents another important objective. Success against this objective requires organizations to develop mechanisms that enable them to better gauge and respond to fast-changing environments.

Much of the digital innovation we have seen over recent years has been a result of new companies disrupting market spaces with innovative services and technologies that support outcomes in new and more efficient ways. Working with greater levels of agility, developing and sustaining an understanding of the ever-changing needs of both customers and employees, and optimizing the processes and workflows that support business activities are important objectives in delivering against this objective.

Leveraging the power of new digital technologies to evolve and deliver improved value and revenue is another important digital transformation theme. As new digital technologies help businesses innovate in new ways, organizations may potentially have the opportunity to enter new market spaces. Businesses such as Amazon are proof of the type of operational shifts that can be experienced by organizations that continue to embrace new technologies that support new ways of working.

Q: How can IT leaders become more strategic business partners?

A: When it comes to digital transformation, IT practitioners must be careful not to fall into a strategic vacuum. Digital initiatives that IT is leading on must not be undertaken in a siloed fashion. It is important to involve and engage the business to ensure capabilities being delivered are actually of value.

From the perspective of IT, it is important to remember that employees often don’t care about the technologies or solutions used to get work done, but they do care about the outcomes that these solutions help deliver. Therefore, considering how technologies enable people, and what behaviours they are driving is important.

Q: How does IT service management (ITSM) fit in here?

A: Digital transformation must be something that involves everyone as opposed to being something that is imposed upon people. Additionally, as important as it is to consider more user-focused design thinking, there’s also a need to minimize business risks. Therefore, balancing what users are demanding with what can safely be delivered is important. It is in this balancing act that IT service management has the potential to deliver real value.

A modern IT department must work with greater levels of agility and be equipped to recognize and respond to changes appropriately and in a timely manner. ITSM practices and technologies are critical to ensuring IT departments can achieve against these aims. In particular, business relationship management and the service desk are areas that can help IT departments build a better understanding of how people work and of their evolving needs. An outcome-focused and people-centric approach can also help organizations build individual user profiles and identify common needs across different business functions and groups.

Q: Any final thoughts?

A: Amongst all the talk of new technologies and new ways of working, it can be easy to lose sight of what is most important when it comes to digital transformation: people. Technology is a key element, but people should be at the heart of any digital transformation effort, and technology adoption should be driven by the need to better enable them.

Want More Inspiration for Driving Your Digital Transformation Strategy?

Get the lay of the digital transformation landscape, as well as more insight from Adam and several other experts on how IT leaders can become strategic business partners to drive digital transformation, with our slideshare: Welcome to the Digital Transformation Jungle.