Three reasons why digital transformation is essential for business growth

The pace of change in digital transformation is exponential. There are new ways to engage with customers, more innovation in the workforce and more opportunities to harness data insights as just a few of the benefits that digital transformation brings.

A study by Cisco estimates that by next year, there will be 20.6 billion networked devices worldwide. 50% of these will be mobile connected, contributing to a massive 800% growth in mobile data between now and 2020.

Now more than ever, organisation’s IT strategies are fundamental to their business strategies. Whatever a company’s vision for the future, it must include digital transformation in order to grow and compete effectively. The need for IT to support the ambition of the business is paramount.

This can be a challenge for IT and technology leaders within a business. With more business applications, more connected devices and higher expectations, today’s CIO must operate at the same pace as the front end of the business. Their job is no longer focused on traditional technology management, but on projects that can really change the business and make it ready for the future.

Here are three reasons why digital transformation is essential for any business looking to grow and stay ahead of the competition in what is now a digital-first world.

Everyone expects on-demand

Today’s customer, internal or external, expects the same kind of experience they have with technology in their personal lives. But for a business, this can be challenging to achieve. There have never been more choices, both in terms of how and where to deliver applications from, and who to partner with in the delivery of services.

Businesses increasingly demand more agile hybrid IT services and agile networking capability, and getting the user experience right is a critical part of business transformation. This goes beyond just the usability of applications for employees or external customers, and includes the experience of working with the IT team and tools. For today’s CIO, the need to maintain the operational discipline around security and performance will remain a priority.

Helping employees be more effective

Workforce engagement is a hot topic. Employers are looking for new ways to create productivity improvements, with digital technology playing a pivotal role in helping employees to become more effective in their primary roles.

Digital transformation provides a valuable opportunity for core business functions, such as finance and HR, to move away from manual processes and automate key areas like payroll, enabling leaders to focus on wider business opportunities.

The network’s role in supporting innovation - by enabling remote working and providing access to technology and services on demand - is critical to delivering an environment that enables employees to achieve.

But the pressure to deliver consumer-level experience, great performance and enterprise-grade security can mean that on-demand services run the risk of becoming a millstone round the necks of IT departments.

Security is a top business priority

One of the biggest headaches for many IT leaders is how to place more data at the edge of their networks, while keeping that data secure. This is an increasingly complicated task, requiring rigorous enforcement around access, data compliance and shielding from attacks. But even the most stringent security measures are useless if an underperforming network forces staff to go elsewhere for flexibility or faster speeds.

It is essential that progressive businesses implement a security strategy consistently across all networks, applications and data, whatever services or service providers are being used.

To allow the effects of digital transformation to be truly transformative, CIOs should surround themselves with both business and technology partners that understand the broader business objectives and can operate honestly and transparently to achieve these goals.