Nick Connors, Managing Director TEKenable, was interviewed by Sunday Business Post to talk about challenges faced by businesses shifting towards digital arena.
Act in haste, repent at leisure. It’s an old saying, but one that still has currency in the IT world, and with lots of companies forced to embrace digital transformation during Covid, an interesting question is raised – did they do so wisely? A recent report commissioned by Microsoft suggested that digital transformation could be worth as much as €300 billion to the Irish economy in 2023.
The Digital Ireland report, conducted by Amárach Research for the tech giant, found that 82 per cent of leaders in Irish organisations said that they’d been forced to adopt digital services and technologies faster than they had otherwise planned to as a consequence of the Covid 19 pandemic. While this was far from ideal, 77 per cent said that the investment they’d ended up making will have a lasting positive impact on their organisation.
So, good news for them but what of everyone else? “Where there are issues, it’s because when companies are looking at digital transformation, they often consider it to be a technology challenge. They’re thinking in terms of the legacy systems they have and moving from them to the cloud or making applications more accessible and so on,” Nick Connors, group managing director for TEKenable, said.
“But the problem is that really that is only one element of the process. The biggest pieces of the puzzle are their internal processes and those are very often overlooked when companies are in a rush to fix a problem or meet a particular challenge like they did during Covid.”
For a lot of companies, when a digital transformation process is started it typically involves decentralising a lot of the IT function. Software-as-a-service and cloud-delivered systems empower the individual in the company to make decisions that previously were all made centrally by the IT department. But if that cultural component of the changeover isn’t handled correctly, it can lead to problems.
“Traditionally, people had to put in a request and wait for the IT department to get around to dealing with it, but now you’re empowering them directly. Many of the current platforms are designed at a certain level to be controlled and run by the business function of the company and changed by the business without the need for assistance from the IT department,” said Connors.
“And that was something we found that’s had a big impact. During Covid, companies pushed through digital transformation in order to meet the challenges they faced, but they sometimes underestimated the ‘people component’. But to get the most out of it you have to recognise that it’s about more than just technology, it’s also about the people themselves and the processes that will fundamentally change.”
No quick fix
According to Connors, a challenge with digital transformation in general is that there is no quick fix for the cultural component of the process. It can take months and years to reinvent the way a company does business and that’s really a question of getting the relationship between the technology used and the people using it right.
“It’s a journey, but sometimes it can take a while for people to see it that way. Some of them come to it a lot quicker than others, but if you have a good technology partner, then it generally works out,” he said.
This interview reproduced here was authored by Alex Meehan and first appeared in Business Post, May 2022.