Digital transformation: 4 ways to accelerate your progress in 2022

To remain competitive in 2022 and beyond, businesses must accelerate their digital initiatives to support critical new technologies. Consider these four key strategies
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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, no topic has impacted enterprises more than digital transformation. While many marveled at the rapid rate of change in early 2020 – most frequently citing McKinsey’s report that organizations advanced their digitalization by four years in a span of just six months – the sustained emphasis on digital transformation continues to shape the ways in which enterprises approach today’s business challenges.

While 2022 could see a broader return to normalcy than in 2020 or 2021, many organizations are preparing for a future that maintains and expands on the changes made to fully digitize their infrastructure and processes. In an always-online world, and with new technologies like web3 and the metaverse promising future changes to the way we work, enterprises must double down on their digital transformation initiatives to ensure they remain at the head of the pack.

4 IT strategies to accelerate digital transformation

Here are four strategies for accelerating digital transformation efforts in 2022 and beyond:

1. Reimagine your traditional structures and hierarchies

What does it mean to have a team when no two members are working in the same room? In one of Gartner’s more eye-popping predictions for 2022, they stated that “by 2024, 30% of corporate teams will be without a boss due to the self-directed and hybrid nature of work.”

[ Want more real-world digital transformation advice for the new year? Read Digital transformation: 4 do's and don'ts for 2022. ]

While remote and hybrid workflows may not lead to the complete elimination of managers, enterprises should consider whether their existing structures inhibit agility in an increasingly digital workplace. For example, routing approvals through an entirely top-down hierarchy could lead to bottlenecks when employees are dotted across several time zones. Taking a more collaborative and pragmatic approach to the division and organization of work could allow teams to pick up speed without sacrificing quality.

2. Prioritize digital-first experiences for your employees and customers

The past two years have rewired the expectations of both consumers and employees. We now know that a vast number of services can be provided online, with end-users – whether internal or external – valuing the convenience and efficiency of a well-designed digital service. As enterprises develop new offerings, they must begin with a digital-first mindset: imagining how the customer or employee experiences the product or service online and then deriving real-world applications based on that initial vision.

This difference in identity between digital-first companies and those that prioritize in-person experience could prove to be a key differentiating factor as employees choose new opportunities and as customers reassess their brand loyalties. Enterprises that are slow to adopt the digital-first mindset may soon find that they’re playing to a dwindling audience.

3. Embrace the exchange of secured data

Data is the lifeblood and currency of digital transformation, so it’s no surprise that enterprises are creating new ways to introduce more data into their business processes. Most recently, organizations have used cloud-based marketplaces to buy and sell valuable information assets. These secured data assets make it possible for enterprises to conduct analyses of encrypted data without having to decrypt it first and compromise privacy.

This groundbreaking new approach to data sharing could allow multiple organizations within a sector to work together to solve common problems, or it could enable teams to share the foundation for important research without divulging intellectual property. Most importantly, integrating more high-quality data will allow any enterprise to refine its processes to deliver improved business outcomes over the long term.

4. Lay the groundwork for sustained success with security and privacy

While enterprises are rightfully focused on the speed and efficiency of their digital transformation efforts, they must be careful not to compromise on their security and privacy obligations in the process. Between high-profile ransomware attacks and increasing regulatory scrutiny, businesses are under significant pressure to maintain the safety and integrity of their valuable data assets – and those of their customers and partners.

Good security practices, including end-to-end encryption and zero-trust architectures, will ensure that an enterprise is building its digital transformation programs on a strong and sustainable foundation. An organization that moves quickly and recklessly may find itself leading the pack, only to come crashing down as the result of a damaging data breach.

Above all, enterprises will be able to unlock new digital transformation opportunities when they are able to think beyond their existing processes and get creative with new tools and workflows. In this new business environment, companies that bet on true, brazen innovation could find themselves miles ahead of the field, looking back at those that stayed mired in the past.

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

Rajan Sethuraman is CEO of LatentView Analytics. His vision for the company is to maximize the value of AI and success for clients with a human understanding of their business needs, guided by expertise in CPG, financial services, technology, healthcare, retail and other core sectors.