Everybody needs it. Most everybody is trying to achieve it. And the majority of those who try fail to realize its benefits.
It is digital transformation — AKA DT, DX or Industry 4.0 — the multi-trillion-dollar business phenomenon enabled by cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), big data and analytics (BDA), mobility, social media and security that is reshaping everything for the foreseeable future. Succeeding at DT is the next new normal, and the stakes are literally life and death, i.e. a 33% increase in speed to market; 40% increase in customer satisfaction; and 37% increase in new business revenue. On average, companies going digital expect to increase annual revenues by 2.9% and reduce costs by 3.6%, but businesses going all-in can achieve both revenue gains and cost reduction of more than 30% at the same time.
So DT is an extinction-level phenomenom that is transforming all aspects of our lives, and while the stakes are high, the risks — and failure rates — are higher. The failure rates for unsuccessful digital transformation projects range from a low of only 70% to as high as 84%. The biggest DT barrier is cultural resistance to change, followed by legacy IT systems and retaining critical talent, respectively.
“One of the things that our research and expertise consistently show is that shifting people and how they need to operate differently are where some of the big challenges are coming from, as more and more companies try to digitally transform,” said IDC’s Shawn Fitzgerald, research director, worldwide digital transformation strategies.
Positioned as a Leader in IDC’s Worldwide Digital Transformation Consulting and Systems Integration Services 2017 Vendor Assessment, Accenture is also grappling with DT internally, as its more than 400,000 professionals visit more than 10,000 customer sites daily, said CIO Andrew Wilson. He told IT Trends & Analysis that organizations need to transform from old techniques and waterfall philosophies to much more horizontal processes and experiences. “You have to be much more real-time.”
The service provider practices what it preaches, focusing on the new skills and training required to enable an increasingly mobile and dispersed workforce to make the most effective use of the latest technologies. Wilson said his company is working to connect employees through social collaboration tools like The Stream, Accenture’s version of Facebook, that enables employees to stay connected with colleagues and communities, post updates and share knowledge anywhere. It also uses video communications, including the CIO’s monthly talk show for employees that features interviews with executives from Accenture and alliance partners.
A key component of the SP’s DT-delivery capabilities is called Accenture Digital — consisting of Accenture Analytics, Accenture Interactive and Accenture Mobility — which offers a portfolio of business and technology services across digital marketing, mobility and analytics. The company says it helps clients leverage connected and mobile devices, extract insights from data using analytics; and enrich end-customer experiences and interactions.
Customers are grappling with pervasive and rapid changes, said Accenture’s Tom Parisi, Managing Director, Global Applications. This evolution is driving new demands on IT for “putting employees and their intentions at the center of the design rather than the corporate intent.” He characterizes it as “IT-led disruption.”
In turn, this leads to new skillsets, said Wilson, who has been recruiting data scienties, locating them in studios and working on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, “making it navigable and consumable and friendly”. These changes impact everything, including governance and ethics, generating “new challenges we were not dealing with a few years ago.”
The power of technology can transform business, he added. “Everything requires the technology to be there, it’s literally the heart of the industry.”
The future is about the data-rich and insightful enterprise, balanced with the security of the data, said Wilson. “It becomes a different dynamic when everyone has access to everything.”