Kowall, who has a wealth of IT experience having run IT operations at various firms for 17 years and worked as an analyst at Gartner, said there’s no question that IT leaders need to embark on the digital transformation journey because it improves customer engagement and makes good business sense.
“It you build these digital channels and digital engagements and learn how to touch your customers, you end up having happier customers. And you end up making more money for your business with this other channel. But with all of the positives that come with doing this right, most people don’t feel that their expectations are being met, both in terms of the functionality of the software and solutions, and the performance of those applications.”
CEOs and CIOs now realise that the Fortune 500 companies, and the well established companies that have been around for often over a hundred years, are being displaced by those that get digital right, he said. “It is no longer an option for you to be good at your core business, and good at digital - you need to do both together. You can’t do one or the other.”
Kowall said organisations that deploy ‘systems of engagement’ will be successful. “It is the systems of engagement - the front ends - that’s what makes your business different. . . If you’re building front ends in ways to engage with your users internally and externally, that’s a business advantage.”
He said companies need to innovate and start investing in digital transformation in order to differentiate and stay ahead of the competition. “The CIOs and senior executives that understand the continual shifts in IT are trying to move away from the business being a cost centre and support - and into being part of the innovation and the driver of the business.”
As companies start on the journey, he said keep in mind some key principles including velocity, which should determine how quickly organisations change and adapt the business and the software in order to meet customer demands.
“It is all about the small steps. Gone are the days of the 24 month IT project and the rollout. Now we are trying to get sprints done in a week or two weeks, to turn code and get it out there and experiment. If we realise that change isn’t good, we can always change it back; we can try something new. It is all about breaking these big apps and projects into really small pieces. Things like microservices facilitate the software agility.”
Like Kowall, Harvey agreed now is the time for each and every company to embark on the digital transformation journey - which doesn’t come without a few challenges.
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