Why Digital Transformation isn’t just for IT

Why Digital Transformation isn’t just for IT

Ben Nadel James Silk
by Ben Nadel & James Silk

Throughout the work we do, we often encounter people who believe that Digital Transformation sits siloed in a specific part of the organisation – usually IT. To explain why Digital Transformation is for the entire business, not just IT, it’s worth starting with what it means – which isn’t as simple as it sounds.

What does Digital Transformation in Financial Services mean in 2021?

Digital Transformation is often thrown around as a buzzword and has grown to become a fairly ambiguous concept.

For us, Digital Transformation is simply the journey to unlocking great value across the business by more effectively using digital tools, technologies, and ways of working. This value could be the ability to launch new products and services more easily, to reduce costs across the organisation, or to capture greater market share.

The value provided by Digital Transformation could be the result of a far-reaching suite of initiatives to improve the organisation – like the movement of all data and workloads onto the cloud – or it could be from more discrete initiatives within a function – like the introduction of a third party tool that increases the efficiency of client onboarding.

The nature of these initiatives will likely be driven based on where the organisation sits on the digital maturity curve.

At the start of the curve, firms are trying to reach a baseline level of maturity so that they can start using innovative tools and technology.

Those that have reached this baseline can begin to implement advanced tools to unlock greater value.

And those at the top of the curve will be using and reshaping these tools to create a real, long-lasting competitive advantage across the breadth of the business.

Digital Maturity Curve

The reality is that many firms are constantly trying to reach a digital baseline that is forever advancing away from them. This is where a holistic, company-wide approach to Digital Transformation becomes important. A sustainable approach that focuses not just on tools and technology, but on the culture, capabilities and frameworks needed to keep the digital ball rolling. This is the Digital Transformation journey that we get excited about – and it’s one that has been shown to increase ROI tenfold.

Who is responsible for Digital Transformation?

Hopefully it’s clear now that Digital Transformation is not an outcome in itself, it is the journey towards the business’s strategic goals.

These goals may come from the CEO, but any supporting initiatives need to be defined and agreed upon by all relevant areas of the business before each programme gets started. For example, delivering a machine learning optimization tool for customer servicing could be spearheaded by the Operations team, but Security, Risk, Compliance, Tech and Data will all play key roles in the programme.

Expecting IT to deliver Digital Transformation alone is like expecting the surgeon to be the anaesthesiologist, nurse, doctor, and surgeon all at once. Would you go in for an operation under these conditions?

Before the company undergoes its equivalent of brain surgery, the CEO must select the senior leaders from their team to drive the effort day-to-day. IT are often in the operating theatre, driving a lot of the effort, but without the support of others, things will go wonky fast.

Digital Transformation that is siloed within Tech isn’t Digital Transformation, it’s just another IT project.

Who are the key beneficiaries of Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation is almost always ultimately benefiting the business or its customers. It should improve the lives of people in IT, but that’s not the key point. You invest in Digital Transformation to achieve your strategic goals and make your business more successful. These successful outcomes could include:

Another outcome is delighted customers. Digital solutions not only make it cheaper and easier to meet customers’ expectations, they also allow you to surpass their expectations to give you a competitive edge.

Digital Transformation provides the foundations for you to keep evolving your customer experience in an agile way as the changing landscape alters their expectations.

So, what does this mean for you?

Wherever you are in the business, you should be thinking about how digital solutions could help you or your team do your job more effectively, or provide better solutions to the customers or clients you serve. Digital Transformation isn’t just the responsibility of Tech, it’s an opportunity for the entire business.

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