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Embracing digital transformation is the way of the future

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Embracing digital transformation is the way of the future
Embracing digital transformation is the way of the future.(Image Source:

In recent years, we have seen more and more businesses giving serious thoughts to replacing their core IT systems. Many have been avoiding the issue for decades by investing in quick fixes, narrow point solutions, and homegrown workarounds.

A large and growing number are now deciding that maintaining this complex patchwork of legacy systems just is not worth the trouble. It is too expensive, too risky and most importantly, too difficult to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of the business.

According to Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, organisations are looking to capitalise on the benefits of a surge of new Artificial Intelligence (AI) based software, robotics, workplace connectivity tools, and people data applications, whilst also mitigating potential downsides and unforeseen effects.

Technologies such as in-memory computing, cloud and enterprise mobility have already started to make an impact in high-tech companies. The Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and augmented reality provide new and exciting opportunities.

While 2018 will see the continued introduction and adoption of many new and exciting tools, management must still make important decisions about which tools to use and how these tools should be used. Managers must determine which tools are best for their organisation, teams, and tasks based on a variety of factors, including culture, pace of communication, and level of formality. Essentially, they need to reimagine the business digitally.

Digital Transformation

The ability to digitally reimagine the business is determined in large by a clear digital strategy supported by leaders who foster a culture able to change and invent the new. True digital transformation extends the impact on business and IT performance through improvements in customer engagement, supply chain effectiveness, and financial insights and by enabling an IT strategy that can leverage the cloud. When done right, an effective digital transformation can influence an organisation by providing measurable results sooner in the form of outcomes that matter for the business.

Moving beyond thinking of personal productivity and technology tools in isolation is critical for organisations to achieve positive results. A combination of culture, leadership, and incentives needs to come together for effective collaboration and productivity to reign. In order to do this, Human Resources must work with the IT department to bring their expertise in team management, goal-setting, and employee development to help make using the new wave of connectivity tools productive, simple, and engaging.

Legacy Systems a challenge

Companies are concerned about a potential disconnect between new communications tools and organisational goals. To help ensure that personal connectivity translates to organisational productivity, they are adapting their practices, workspaces, and leadership styles to capitalise on the power of these tools while mitigating potential negative impacts. In the digital economy, simplification and business innovation matter more than ever. To do this effectively, it is important to cover the end-to-end digital transformation journey, ranging from planning a digital innovation roadmap and implementation plan with proven best practices to the ability to run all deployment options and ultimately optimize for continuous innovation with a focus on outcomes.

A key challenge with legacy systems is that implementing new software and processes on top of existing frameworks often leads to massive, disconnected systems that do not work as efficiently as companies would like them to. A legacy system may be the most significant barrier to a business’ successful digital transformation. Once you consider what is needed to compete in Industry 4.0, it’s not hard to see why.

Holding onto outdated legacy systems can potentially put your business at risk of falling behind and losing its competitive edge.

Collaboration between HR and technology

A culture conducive to digital transformation is a hallmark of maturing companies. These organisations have a strong propensity to encourage risk-taking, foster innovation and develop collaborative work environments. Such Enterprises thrive with an engaged and motivated workforce and need relationships as well as systems in place that invigorate and stimulate talent to innovate and develop trust for long-lasting partnerships.

Robots and cognitive technologies are making steady advances, particularly in jobs and tasks that follow set, standardised rules and logic. This reinforces a critical challenge for business and HR leaders namely, the need to design, source, and manage the future of work, workforces, and workplaces to incorporate a robust understanding of which skills are essentially human.

HR leaders should focus on defining the difference between essential human skills, such as creative and ethical thinking, and non-essential tasks, which can be managed by machines. This requires reframing careers and designing new ways of working and learning—both in organisations and as individuals. Research by Deloitte, UK finds that the future workforce will require a “balance of technical skills and more general purpose skills such as problem-solving skills, creativity, social skills, and emotional intelligence.”

To help clients rapidly develop capabilities for addressing some of tomorrow’s most complex challenges, Deloitte teamed up with SAP to build a new suite of services for enabling digital transformation. Embracing digital is not a technology exercise but a business imperative enabling organisations to engage customers, employees, partners, and suppliers with ease and impact.

By Andre Vermeulen, Deloitte

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