Is digital transformation a strategic initiative far removed from the day-to-day IT operations such as service desk? Or is it failing because it’s starting in the wrong place? Eric Wright, managing director of Richmond Systems explains.
Research from Ovum shows that 90% of organisations have so far failed to meet their digital transformation aims. It’s a disappointing yet unsurprising statistic. Why? Because the majority of organisations have missed the point of digital transformation and therefore have little hope of achieving their goals.
Digital transformation was always going to be one of those ‘shoot for the stars’ initiatives in which organisations thought they could just invest some money in technology and become the Amazon/Google/Apple of their sector. Sadly, it doesn’t work this way.
Digital transformation is not solely about technology. It is about rethinking the connection between business performance and technology and then utilising the available IT to create the best possible outcome. It’s not the nebulous, ill-defined and unachievable project that many businesses have struggled with.
Digital transformation might at first glance look like a top-down strategy. It’s not. Successful digital transformation takes place at a more grassroots level. It’s about projects such as Business Relationship Management and DevOps improving the connection between the business and technology teams. It’s about the honest dialogue between business professionals – technical and non-technical – about how IT can be used to make the business more competitive. And it’s about listening to feedback and smart people working hard to make changes that improve the business in myriad areas.
Let’s think about the contribution of the service desk for example.
• How quickly are problems resolved? It might be unfashionable to talk about SLAs and meantime to resolve, but fixing a problem allows the business to get back to work. Failure to do so means productivity suffers.
• How much of the support burden is being automated? Peer-to-peer support is expensive for the organisation, so self-service portals and automated logging are more important than ever. Automation speeds up support (and therefore helps staff get back to work faster) but it also gives service desks the time they need to become business technology advisors. And in this role, it can begin to drive transformation by working more collaboratively with the business.
• Is the service desk being used to run other functions? We tend to think of Enterprise Service Management – the concept of using the service desk tool/processes to run other functions such as HR or facilities management – in terms of earning the service desk kudos. But automating and systemising a manual process is digital transformation in its purest form.
There will be other examples of how the service desk can contribute to digital transformation and we could apply this thinking equally effectively to other IT functions. The point is that the transformation happens at this operational level, not at the theoretical, strategic stage.
Yes, digital transformation needs senior backing and leadership to encourage new ways of working. But the hard work, the true transformation, takes place at grassroots level. Whether it be the service desk or any other branch of IT, transformation occurs when people make it happen. If you can be one of those people, you will be making a massive contribution to your organisation.