The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant shift in the business landscape, with digital transformation being a key development. According to recent studies, merely 50% of businesses considered digitalisation in the pre-pandemic era, yet this figure has since increased to 80%, indicating that many businesses recognise the importance of accelerating digital transformation as a vital strategy.
Experts predict that global spending on technology and services to facilitate digital transformation will witness a growth of 10.4% and reach USD 1.3 trillion by 2023. This is not surprising given that businesses need to modernise their infrastructure and swiftly digitise their processes to cater to their customers’ requirements as stay-at-home orders become increasingly prevalent. Although many firms are compelled to reduce their expenses to remain viable amid the pandemic, transforming digitally is still an essential priority.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly ushered in a new era of rapid digitisation. Although the concept of digital acceleration has existed for some time, the global financial crisis emphasised the criticality of companies embracing digital transformation to stay current. Nowadays, prioritising digital transformation is essential for businesses that wish to remain competitive.
Considering the present circumstances, digital acceleration has become even more relevant as it stresses the urgency of developing businesses’ digital infrastructure promptly. It’s critical not to confuse digital acceleration with accelerated digital transformation. To achieve digital acceleration, the integration of new digital technologies needs to be approached differently.
Eliminating Obsolete Practices
If we understand digital acceleration to imply swift digital transformation, it would necessitate speedy upgrades or replacements of complex systems and infrastructure – a highly desirable yet impracticable scenario.
Reconfiguring outdated systems necessitates developing new solutions from scratch, which can be time-consuming based on their complexity. In the same vein, upgrading existing resources can be equally intricate, and the fast-paced environment of today’s corporate world may result in developers working hurriedly with old technology, heightening the likelihood of mistakes and other complications.
Businesses are now realising that merely upgrading their core technology is inadequate in achieving successful digital transformation. This entails deviating from conventional practices as a more measured approach is required to facilitate the transition and prevent disruption. To facilitate a true digital acceleration, data must be leveraged.
Harnessing Insights from Prior Experiences
This paper by BCG makes a compelling case for separating digital business transformation from core IT transformation within the context of the new strategy. The idea is to bifurcate the digital acceleration process into two distinct changes. The first change involves the conventional practice of upgrading core systems and enhancing digital infrastructure with increased resources. In contrast, a novel data layer can be utilised to impart the necessary flexibility and apt insights to swiftly deliver value to the organisation.
By segregating these two aspects, a company can concentrate on upgrading their critical technology while still extracting value from their current data. This raises the question: how can data be useful if obsolete systems hinder its proper usage? The solution is straightforward: implement a cloud-based system architecture.
Organisations can leverage cloud-based platforms that enable access to cutting-edge technologies such as AI-powered algorithms and big data analytics tools, and are available at present. This solution is ideal for digital acceleration, given its rapidity, flexibility, security, and scalability, empowering businesses to respond swiftly to evolving market conditions while providing early value to their customers.
Several advantages come with adopting a data-driven strategy, but the following are particularly significant:
- This technology enables companies to promptly gain insights from vast datasets, by harnessing existing technologies, while cutting costs and saving time linked to hurried IT infrastructure upgrades. This empowers companies to design and implement upgrades at their own pace, without compromising customer expectations.
- By creating a more favourable space for creativity, engineers can pioneer the company’s products, amplify their inherent worth, and rapidly conjure up novel digital services for in-house and external use, without awaiting an upgrade of the main systems. This approach encourages the execution of multiple projects in tandem, facilitating even the less skilled team members to grasp things rapidly.
Rapid Innovation is the Crux of Digital Acceleration
This perspective differs considerably from how businesses typically approach digital transformation initiatives. Nevertheless, it is crucial. Digital acceleration differs from digital transformation, being more concentrated on the incorporation of novel concepts. While it is simple to concentrate on the benefits of digital infrastructure in the process, it is important to bear in mind that varying approaches are necessary.
Insights gleaned from the tumultuous year of 2023 reveal the veracity of the aforementioned assertion. The pandemic has accentuated the need for businesses to promptly react to changing consumer demands and requirements. To sustain success during and beyond the pandemic, companies should undertake a comprehensive digital transformation, thereby equipping themselves with the requisite tools and mindset to innovate promptly in response to new challenges.
In the existing milieu, businesses must embrace innovation if they aspire to remain competitive and generate value in the long run. To achieve this, companies must upgrade their core technology, while acknowledging the necessity of a short-term digital acceleration process which can enable the segregation of these processes.