October 29th, 2018

Business man walking through a lightbulb-shaped portal at top of a staircase

In an earlier blog post, I highlighted some of the top reasons why digital transformation (DX) projects can and will fail unless an organization has the right strategies in place for success.

One culprit is that the “human factor” is too often overlooked at the start of a DX project, leaving stakeholders in the dark about what changes may be in store for them and the business. A second factor is that many organizations lack the modern, cloud-based application integration and data management technologies needed to make digital transformation a reality.

Shortcomings in both human and technology elements make it difficult to overcome the challenges of business silos and a lack of collaboration across the organization. These factors were identified by 54 percent of digital leaders in Australia and New Zealand (AN/Z) as the primary barriers to business agility in a survey by ADAPT, an advisory and research practice.

The ADAPT study also found that that 88 percent of AN/Z respondents are looking at application integration as a top priority as they pursue digital transformation. That aligns with additional research conducted for Dell Boomi by Vanson Bourne,  which found that 91 percent of IT decision-makers in AN/Z recognized the need to improve connectivity within their organizations.

As outlined in a new Boomi executive brief, “Why Digital Transformation Projects Fail: Three Winning Steps for Every CIO,” organizations need to focus on both human and technical factors for digital transformation to succeed. Inattention to people and integration elevates the risk that a DX project will struggle to meet time and budget goals, or be shelved altogether.

Keys to Ensuring the Success of Your DX Project

In working with some of the world’s most innovative organizations, the Boomi team has identified three winning strategies that leaders can focus on to develop and implement successful DX initiatives.

1. Effective Management of Change

While change is an inseparable element of transformation, it is worth remembering that for many stakeholders change can be uncomfortable, especially if they cannot envision their role in the transformed organization. It’s vital that DX leaders engage in effective and constant communications across the organization, with clear messaging that stakeholders can understand and relate to.

Importantly, the likelihood of resistance is reduced when individuals understand why change is necessary and how they will benefit. This can impact the culture of the organization, making it not only more accepting of change but also more collaborative, especially across different functions. Collaborating with stakeholders from the start is also an opportunity for DX leaders to capture valuable frontline input that can help shape a DX project.

2. Effective Management of Data

For an organization to gain the greatest benefit from the data it holds, it must reduce the barriers that exist between that data and the functions that seek access to it. In addition, it’s critical to address the incomplete, incorrect or obsolete records can are likely to exist in your disparate applications. Bad data means bad business.

Using data quality management tools helps create consistent, reliable data shared across applications and business units, driving effective data flows and application performance. The “single source of truth” made possible in with a master data management system becomes more important as organizations grow, especially as hybrid IT creates an even greater diversity of data sources.

The importance of master data is increasingly recognized by IT and business leaders. For example, Boomi’s survey, “The Connected Business, by the Numbers,” found that 55 percent of AN/Z respondents reported that a focus on master data increases data accuracy and efficiency, while 43 percent credited it for more effective data analysis. Accounting for master data should be an essential prerequisite in embarking on application integration and digital transformation.

3. Effective Management of Speed and Scope

Data is the lifeblood of modern organizations and needs to be made easily available to business applications, and ultimately to the end users who rely on it to make decisions. But moving data between applications can be a point of major inefficiency. Legacy systems and processes were consistently ranked in the ADAPT and Boomi studies as a key factor inhibiting business agility.

So, it is not surprising to find that many organizations are turning to cloud-based technology such as integration platform as a service (iPaaS), which offers significantly better speed and flexibility for application and data integration compared to custom-coding or legacy on-premise middleware. That speed is especially important as organizations in today’s digital era look for applications that can be deployed in weeks or even days.

As research has found, iPaaS is being rapidly adopted and is delivering significant benefits. The Boomi study found that 50 percent of organizations in A/NZ have already completely adopted iPaaS, with another 30 percent in the process of doing so. Among those using iPaaS, 49 percent report that maintenance is easier and developer collaboration is increasing, while 33 percent report faster time to market.

Transformation Into a Connected Business: The Ultimate Goal

Digital transformation is not just about deploying new systems or modernizing IT — it’s also about changing the business. Success comes from looking holistically across an organization’s people, processes and technologies. With strategies to engage each of those elements, you can create digital transformation initiatives to create a connected business.

With effective data management, business users can interact with the data and applications they need to work effectively. Freed from the limitations of the traditional organizational chart, organizations can deliver results for customers as quickly, easily and effectively as possible. And ultimately, that is the transformation that matters most.

To learn more, get our new executive brief, “Why Digital Transformation Projects Fail: Three Wining Steps for Every CIO.”