Digital transformation: 3 roadblocks and how to overcome them

Help to ensure a successful digital transformation by avoiding these often-overlooked obstacles
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The future of any organization lies in its ability to adapt to a digital-first future, especially as the pandemic continues to boost demand for digital business service operations. With 65 percent of the world’s GDP expected to be digitized by the end of this year and the digital transformation market expected to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars by 2025, organizations simply cannot afford to forgo digital transformation if they want to stay relevant.

Like any journey, the transition from legacy systems is filled with its own challenges. However, the utility of the data that underpins transformation initiatives is what will allow your organization to grow and adapt more effectively than ever before.

To prepare for the challenge of digital transformation, consider these three often-overlooked roadblocks to becoming a digital-first enterprise.

1. Data ownership

Many organizations try to drive digital transformation initiatives while continuing to leverage existing communication technology investments. While these legacy vendors may meet business requirements in many areas, they can also tie the organization into a single-vendor technology stack and/or create barriers to accessing and controlling valuable “AI-ready” communication data that the organization should use for its own operations and intelligence tools.

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Don’t let this unnecessary roadblock prevent you from accessing invaluable information that can inform your organization’s digital transformation strategy. It’s essential to understand the limitations in terms of data access for any solutions you are considering or legacy systems you are working with. For example, vendors often charge large sums to export valuable information organizations need for their decision-making. The data may not be accessible in a timely manner, or it may be supplied in batches rather than completely accessible at any time.

Prioritize data quality and data ownership when selecting digital tools and ensure any partnership does not impede your ability to retain access to and control of your data. Access to data includes the ability to make data-driven decisions and the freedom to choose the best-fit applications – critical components to not only a successful digital transformation but any initiative your enterprise seeks to meet customer demands and internal operation goals.

Prioritize data quality and data ownership when selecting any digital tools and ensure any partnership does not impede your ability to retain access to and control of your data.

2. Enterprise-wide collaboration

Communication happens across different channels, involves different people, and occurs at different times across an enterprise. While having access to organization-wide communication data is important, harnessing these expansive data sets can inform the innovation of organization-wide digital operations.

To accomplish this, establish systems early in your digital transformation that let you track, sort, and feed this information into artificial intelligence tools. This will enable you to turn rich but potentially overwhelming data sets into insights that inform your digital transformation initiatives and to adjust strategies where needed. The ability to understand and use these communication interactions is fundamental to a successful digital transformation journey.

3. Regulatory compliance

Many sectors, such as healthcare and financial services, operate within a complex web of constantly changing regulations that can be difficult to navigate. These regulations, while robust, are critical for sensitive data such as patient information in healthcare, proper execution of protocol in law enforcement, and other essential data that must be managed and used responsibly. How customer and internal data is collected, stored, managed, and used must be prioritized, especially when an enterprise transitions from legacy systems.

Establishing a digital system that supports compliance with regulations is a challenge, but once the system is established, every interaction within the organization becomes data that can be monitored if you have the tools to interpret it. Knowing what is going on in every corner of an organization is central to remaining compliant, and setting up intelligent tools that can detect risk across the enterprise will ensure that your organization’s digital transformation is rooted in compliance-first strategies.

As the need for digital transformation across industries increases, it is critical to adopt strategies during your transition from legacy systems that set your organization up for success in your data-driven future. You may run into roadblocks along your digital transformation journey, but when an enterprise owns its data, it can create intelligent systems that address its greatest challenges and turn them into tools for success.

These new systems will ensure that you remain competitive in a digital-first future and meet the growing demand for digital business operations.

[Get answers to key digital transformation questions and lessons from top CIOs: Download our digital transformation cheat sheet.]

Richard Stevenson is the Chief Executive Officer of Red Box. He is a customer-focused senior leader who has built a strong track record of execution, having worked in the Software and Financial Services sectors for over twenty years.