Despite being a delightfully cringe-worthy buzzword that every Silicon Valley wannabe entrepreneur seems obsessed with dropping at any networking event, there is no escaping the necessity of Digital Transformation for companies looking to remain competitive. 

However, a recent Forbes Insight revealed that 75% of IT executives believe that the current imbalance of the desire for new product development and initiatives and the reality of time money and resources mainly going to maintenance and management is affecting their company’s competitiveness. 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution – The Digital Age 

Business has been transitioning into a predominantly digital realm for some time now and with robotics and AI a key desire for growth and innovation in 2017, it’s clear that refusing digital transformation is no longer an option. We’re even questioning whether Skynet could end up replacing us all. 

IT service management has become an integral element in businesses’ journeys towards digital autonomy, in both the implementation and general management for various areas within the organisation. With virtually every department utilising some form of IT as part of their digital journey into proficiency, ITSM has needed to evolve and adapt to keep up with the demand. 

Compulsory change 

No longer an enterprise luxury, departments across organisations have all realised the need to embrace modern solutions to increase their efficiency, customer experience and ability to provide the level of service consumers and colleagues expect from today’s technology. 

Easier said than done, IT departments across various industries have had to tackle underfunded projects that challenge long-established corporate cultures. They need to implement new complex and intelligent solutions, as well as convert users into digital advocates, which is by no means an easy feat. 

Expectation vs. reality 

The Forbes Insights Survey reveals that 56% of IT executives recognise that the pace of IT change and transformation is increasing. Many IT and service management directors have already faced the pandering requests for implementation of the next innovations in tech – whether they are relevant or practical is another matter. 

However, there is an imbalance between the growing requirement for digital upgrades throughout the enterprise and where IT budgets and priorities are being channelled. The same Forbes study reveals that:

“many organisations still spend most of their IT budgets—and a good deal of staff time—keeping the lights on”

55% also highlighted that the share of their IT budgets going towards maintenance and management has increased in the last 3 years. 

With time, money and resources going towards maintaining uptime and availability; applying upgrades, fixes and patches; ensuring security, it is understandably difficult to innovate to the level that is being demanded across enterprises. 

Transformation starts with what you’ve got 

In order to keep up with the need to evolve and adapt new technologies, whilst also ensuring the core functionality of the enterprise is still running effectively, IT executives have already employed methods to lighten the burden of constant maintenance. 39% have implemented greater automation across ITSM and just under half (47%) are now relying on more on cloud-based services. 

By updating their existing business processes, IT executives are able to reduce the limited resources spent on the tedious aspects of maintenance and management (such as managing passwords), allowing them more opportunity to focus on the upcoming developments.  

There developments in service management and organisational software have given us an armoury of technologies to help use drive productivity. In reality, there is still plenty of room for improvement, as many of the seemingly simple aspects of ITSM have yet to be updated to mirror the modern trends in IT demand. 

Simple changes pave the way for transformation 

Many elements of Service Management processes are overlooked and, consequently neglected. This has led to various areas for improvement and cost savings that would truly benefit from automation.  

One example of a ill-managed area of service management, which ironically underpins the efficiency these enterprise applications aim to provide, is communication. 

There are numerous conversations that need to occur between a wide variety of parties, yet a survey conducted by Service Management providers ServiceNow found that 80% of processes rely on primitive methods to communicate, mainly using e-mail. 

E-mail has a long history of being poorly managed and overused. So much so that leading entrepreneurs have even advocated wiping out their entire unread inbox and declaring e-mail bankruptcy

As the rest of the business has transformed, e-mail has not and we now need it to do more than it was ever designed to do; send memos electronically. 

We need instant answers, communication that feeds back directly into software, intelligent messages that respond to change. Why is contacting my Grandmother in another country easier than contacting a colleague about an urgent security breach that directly impacts customers and business alike? 

Transformation requires risk 

The real problem is the culture change that needs to be adopted. Email is comfortable. Email is safe. Email works. Plus, it’s free. 
Unfortunately, it is none of these. 

This can be said to be true of most areas of digital transformation within enterprises; if it ain’t broke, why invest time and budget into trying to fix it? Isn’t that precisely the point of digital transformation? 

Just because something appears to works, doesn’t mean it’s working to its best and certainly does not mean we should settle, especially in the IT industry where outdated technology can be a make or break factor in success. 

“You have to put leaders in place who are willing to be innovative, creative, and who are willing to be disruptive and willing to do things differently than they’ve done for years. Break some glass.”

Monika Fahlbusch SVP and Chief Employee Experience Officer, BMC

The problem with digital transformation is the balancing act. Finding innovation whilst funding monotony. Being disruptive and not being a disruption. Channelling innovation that’s not a stretch too far to implement. 

So what is the solution? 

There are plenty of savvy solutions that have been developed to help reduce the time it takes to complete tasks that distract us from looking ahead. To complete the e-mail communication example, there has been considerable growth in the consumer-style chat clients like Slack and Hipchat to help facilitate conversations across data silos. 

Digital transformation goes further still. Innovations like Heed’s messaging integration software uses smart messaging that allows users to send actionable notifications that feedback into their enterprise software and updates them with the relevant changes. Teams are now able to assign, complete and automate business processes with one smart message, allowing them to focus on the results and what’s next to come. 

In a general sense, innovation and digital transformation is all about idealism, yet needs to start at the basics in order to effectively evolve a business and meet the realities of enterprise IT.  

Start small – look at what you have and how you can transform and innovate your existing processes to make a big difference. Something as small as how you communicate can impact a great deal. 

Get your house in order – focus on some of the existing problems before trying to implement a new spanner for a machine on the edge. 

Be willing to invest – there’s a big difference between being budget conscious and denying business growth and efficiency. Risks reap rewards, especially when data driven. 

Captains support their ships – leaders need to be on board and you need to see things through. Don’t waste limited resources on transformations you’re unwilling to see evolve. 

For more information on how businesses are able to transform their internal time-consuming processes and focus on the development that boosts their competitiveness, get in touch at

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