CXO

The 6 rules of digital transformation: How IT can get in the game

According to recent research from Bain & Company, a majority of companies are lacking key drivers for digital transformation. Here are six steps to improve their journey.

Despite the promise of the cloud and related technologies, many companies aren't going all in. According to a July report from Bain & Company, on average companies have only moved 40% of their compute or storage to the cloud.

While that number is up from 31% in 2013, the report said, many executives have dialed back their expectations for the cloud, and many only expect the cloud to make up 45% of their infrastructure by 2019. Still, that doesn't mean that these companies are abandoning their digital transformation dreams.

"Nobody is arguing about the need to go digital. In today's competitive marketplace, digital transformation has become a requirement, not an option," the report said.

SEE: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (free PDF)

In addition to the cloud, a host of other technologies and tools are required for a company to achieve digital transformation. Along with those tools are standards and principles that need to be followed in order for a company to achieve success in that journey, the report said.

According to the report, here are the six IT design rules for digital transformation:

1. Break boundaries across IT stacks

Because most companies won't achieve a full public cloud migration anytime in the near future, the report said, companies should instead invest in tools and platforms that thrive in hybrid environments. The report specifically points out monitoring, discovery, and configuration tools that can touch on legacy tools and consumer apps as well.

SEE: The Art of the Hybrid Cloud (ZDNet)

2. Embrace DevOps

As the speed of new releases increases, and management styles shift toward agile and scrum methodologies, it is essential for businesses to embrace DevOps—a purposeful integration of software development and IT operations. According to Gartner research cited in the Bain report, 60% of companies are using, or planning to implement, DevOps to speed testing and validation. IT leaders should be fully committed if they pursue DevOps, as a moderate approach could be counterproductive.

3. Be open

"No modern solution can be an island," the report said. App designers and developers should avoid monolithic solutions, instead opting for a selection of the best available individual tools. The report also noted that firms should pursue modular and open source software solutions, especially those that are API-friendly. Flexibility and integration are key.

4. Incorporate policy engines

With the increasing number of software tools and technologies that will come about with digital transformation, CIOs need a more logical way to approach policies. Just as IT operations have been automated to account for manual processes, so can aspects of policy creation and enforcement be with the use of policy engines, the report said.

SEE: Ebook—IT leader's guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research)

5. Induce insights

As an enterprise continues to pursue digital transformation, it will be flooded with more data than it may have ever had before, the report noted. As such, IT leaders need to find a way to leverage that data and make it work for the organization. Using tools like machine learning, insights can be found and used to power the future of the business.

6. Insist on user-friendly experiences and tools

Digital transformation will improve many aspects of the business, but executives and IT can't forget about their users. Be sure to invest in apps with a consumer-level UX and out-of-the-box functionality that will improve workflows, the report said.

Also see

transformation.jpg
Image: iStockphoto/ipopba

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox