Originally published by New Context.
Anyone who has not been living under a rock for the last decade or so knows that there has been a global revolution taking shape, commonly referred to as Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT is what many consider to be The Fourth Industrial Revolution, preceded by:
- The First Industrial Revolution, which was characterized by the mechanization of industry via water and steam power;
- The Second Industrial Revolution, which increased mass production made possible using electric power; and,
- The Third Industrial Revolution, which introduced automated production based on electronics and information technology.
Each of these previous revolutions was defined by the use of new technology that improved and enhanced the efficiency and quality of the mechanical processes for goods production.
The current revolution has the same objectives of better quality and greater efficiency, but the principal change is not mechanical processing—though equipment and technological innovations continue to occur. Today, the heart of the IIoT revolution is a digital transformation based on integration. This transformation can and is being applied to all industries where the collection, processing, distribution, and security of data are central to operations.
The complexity of making this transformation means that the results can be good, bad, or ugly depending upon how it is implemented and by whom. To assure the best outcome, many enterprises turn to development, security, and operations (DevSecOps) professionals. Let’s clearly define what these changes entail and explore how digital transformation consulting can positively impact your business.
What Is Digital Transformation, Really?
If you ask 100 software development professionals to describe digital transformation, you would likely get 100 different answers. This is because digital transformation can take many different forms, utilize different tools, and have varying specific objectives. At its core:
Digital transformation is the utilization of digital technology to institute new or modify old ideas, strategies, and processes to improve business operations, culture, and customer experiences.
Digital transformation extends well beyond any particular software tool or networking protocol. In fact, the most effective implementation of digital transformation is the leveraging of digital technology to optimize all aspects of business operation and culture for the comprehensive benefit of the enterprise, staff, and customer ecosystem.
There are several reasons why digital transformation should matter for your business, including that decision-making based on actual data leads to better operational efficiency. However, making this transformation can be quite burdensome and requires expertise, objectivity, and time. For most organizations, the cost of making this transition with internal resources far outweighs the advantages of outsourcing to a digital transformation consulting team.
The Advantages of Digital Transformation Consulting
Reduced cost, faster development and rollout, and other advantages of outsourcing for software development are well-known. Digital transformation consulting, which also involves some degree of software development, provides the same advantages and much more. There are seven crucial areas where this transformation service can impact your organization:
1. Business Model
Fordigital transformation, an expanded business model is needed. This is best done by adopting an ecosystem in which operations, business structure, staff, and customers are viewed as a harmonious integration, instead of as separate concerns. In concrete terms, individual contributors are empowered to proactively coordinate and communicate with squad-level teammates outside any given silo. This removes friction and provides greater insight to existing business models to help drive productivity.
2. Organizational DNA
Based on estimates from 2018, 70% of digital transformation efforts are unsuccessful. Technology, or the lack of it, is not the culprit. Rather, the lack of consideration for and buy-in by affected system personnel are the culprits for this failure. For success, a new internal culture of teamwork and clear documentation or records that define company operations and activities should be in place. Organization-level changes and business model improvements play off each other intrinsically: you can’t have one without the other.
3. Operational Agility
Transforming your business comprehensively, along with accompanying automation of security and other important functions, will aid your ability to respond to changes quickly and effectively.
4. Infrastructure Flexibility
By default, your infrastructure will change. This is true even when you have a large number of legacy systems to maintain. This is the perfect opportunity to explore new strategies to improve efficiency. In particular, a digital transformation ideally pairs with infrastructure that follows the “Distributed, Immutable, Ephemeral” (DIE) resiliency model. Ultimately, digital infrastructure removes friction across systems and provides the transparency to understand how the business is actually working and the behaviors that drive outcomes.
With proper planning, your system should be more resilient and able to adapt to new technology, regulatory requirements, and customer needs. This is a natural effect of the improvements in other areas, notably operational agility, infrastructure flexibility, and scalability.
Increased transparency internally and for external clients is necessary to improve operational efficiency and customer usability and satisfaction. Of course, this highlights the need for DevSecOps that provides better communication and access, while preserving data and personally identifiable information (PII) security. Strengthening digital infrastructure leads to greater observability, so that you always know what’s going on with your data.
Digital transformation is not a one-time process. For optimal effectiveness, it should be an ongoing evolution where capability can increase when needed without the loss or degradation of functionality. Consequently, digital transformation is often accompanied by greater use of DevSecOps automation techniques, which enable systems to run at whatever scale is required that day with a minimum of human effort.
As this list indicates, the benefits of digital transformation are far greater and more transitional than for typical software development. Additionally, comprehensive transformations, such as cloud migrations, provide the best opportunity to implement new data security compliance solutions and other important security measures. By choosing the right partner for digital transformation, any and all of these benefits can be achieved to revolutionize your organization’s internal operations, improve its culture, and enhance the experience of your customers.