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How to get on the right side of the digital divide

By Simon Michie, Chief Technology Officer

We recently launched our latest research report, ‘The Digital Divide’ which uncovers an expansive gap between businesses across the UK when it comes to the application of digital. The events of the last 12 months have left businesses striving for organisational agility and they recognise digital and cloud as critical to success.

Most businesses have already embarked on their digital journeys; however, many are approaching digitalisation in a way that may not lead to sustainable transformation. Worryingly, less than half have a transformation plan in place.

The majority also admit they are facing barriers when implementing transformation, with transformation complexity and integration with legacy systems common challenges. So, how should you approach digital transformation to guarantee success?

Step 1: Define your strategy

Firstly, ensure that your digital and business objectives are aligned. Our research indicates misalignment between IT teams and business leaders in a number of areas, but with different stakeholders working towards different goals or expectations, transformation can become complex and challenging. Make sure you gain agreement on transformation objectives from the outset.

Secondly, don’t lose sight of the drivers of digital transformation. A transformation initiative can bring benefits to customers, end users, or the business by improving efficiency or organisational agility. Keep your goals and users front of mind to make sure transformation is impactful and worthwhile.

Thirdly, factor in regulatory and governance requirements. Each industry has different obligations that can impact your transformation approach. Consider these from the outset to eliminate the risk of falling out of compliance and save potentially complex, costly and time-consuming adjustments in the future.

Finally, develop a common language among stakeholders. You will more than likely be migrating some elements of your business to the cloud as part of your transformation. However, there’s a lot of different terminology around cloud models and migration approaches, each of which can mean different things to different people. You need to ensure that everybody involved in your digital transformation journey has the same understanding of each and is using a common language. This helps to avoid ambiguity and confusion and develops a consistent knowledge base that allows each stakeholder to confidently ask the right questions to help guide decision-making.

Step 2: Evaluate your options

It’s well-understood that cloud is an essential component of digital transformation and key to achieving true digital agility. A cloud-based infrastructure can provide the scalability and flexibility organisations need, while enabling on-demand access to critical business applications.

However, there are various cloud strategies to consider such as hybrid, public, private and multi-cloud, as well as different migration approaches. Make sure you have a good understanding of the benefits and disadvantages of all before making a decision on the right approach for your business or it could end up costing you more in the long run. If you’re unsure where to start with your transformation, why not consider a Cloud Discovery Workshop?

You also need to understand which elements of your IT infrastructure should be moved and in which order. Chances are you won’t be moving everything, so you need to identify and evaluate which legacy systems need to stay and any challenges they pose early on.

At this stage, you should also identify priority workloads for migration and complete a workload assessment. This will require a clear understanding of your existing IT infrastructure and will help map out how each component will connect in your transformation strategy. Using the intelligence gained from the workload assessment, you can then design the right cloud configuration for your specific needs.

Our research identified skills as a significant barrier to successful transformation. Having access to the right skills is essential to developing and executing a digital transformation strategy, so it pays to understand the skills required to support your transformation. If gaps exist, consider outsourcing to a third party.

Step 3: Develop a realistic plan

If you’re finding transformation too complex or are facing challenges with legacy infrastructure, stop trying to run before you can walk and design your plan around your limitations or requirements. For example, if you need to retain some legacy systems, design a hybrid cloud solution around your existing infrastructure and develop a broader cloud roadmap to get you where you want to be long-term, but at your own pace.

By the time you’re ready to begin the implementation of your digital transformation strategy, your roadmap and timeline should be clearly defined. Measurement and reporting requirements should also be established to help evaluate the success and ROI.

Step 4: Optimise and enhance

Once you have implemented your transformation strategy don’t just leave it there. Undertake regular reviews to assess and understand where you can enhance and optimise. This will help to ensure transformation is achieving the desired outcomes.

Get your cloud strategy right

Whether you’re struggling to understand where to begin your transformation journey, or you’re already on your journey but facing barriers, consider taking part in a Pulsant Cloud Discovery Workshop to help you understand your cloud transformation options. Our team of cloud experts will navigate you through a series of exercises to help you understand your cloud transformation options. Investing the time to get this first step of your cloud journey right, can pay dividends in the long run when it comes to digital success. For more information, get in touch with one of our cloud experts here.

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