Digital Transformation: What Does It Mean For IT Management?

Table of contents

IT management personnel working on a digital transformation project

Digital Transformation is on the mind of nearly every business today. But the process can have different meaning and impacts when considered from the IT management layer of the organisation. In this article, we'll discuss some of the issues involved with IT management and digital transformation along with some of the common pitfalls that are encountered by the people at the coalface of an organisation's modernization efforts.

Did you know you can generate a full-featured, documented, and secure REST API in minutes using DreamFactory? Sign up for our free 14 day hosted trial to learn how! Our guided tour will show you how to create an API using an example MySQL database provided to you as part of the trial!

Start Your Digital Transformation Now

What Does Digital Transformation Mean?

Digital transformation is the means of changing your business processes according to changing digital capabilities. It's a vague definition because digital transformation means something different for each business, depending on where they are and where they want to go. Equally, digital transformation from an IT management perspective can have different implications than other parts of the same business.

Previous iterations of digital transformation emphasized the "digital" aspect, placing the focus on turning analog processes digital to make them more efficient. But as our digital capabilities grow and customer expectations change, businesses find they need to emphasize the "transformation" aspect more. The time comes for businesses to rethink their entire business and sales structure.

What Can Digital Transformation Do For A Business?

A business' digital transformation strategy can make or break them. For every tale of how a company used digital transformation to their advantage, there are three more who didn't quite make it.

Domino's is one such digital transformation success story. In 2008, the company faced its lowest point with stocks around $3 a share. This was when they hatched their plan to become "an eCommerce company that happens to sell pizza." Along with changing their recipes and ingredients for the physical side of the business, they revamped their whole online presence with their "Anyware" platform and "Think Oven." Today, Domino's sits at over $300 per share.

By contrast, a company that didn't quite nail its digital transformation strategy would be Proctor & Gamble. They started out with a broad vision to become "the most digital company on the planet" and didn't stop to look at what was happening in their own market. Their strategy was challenged from the outset due to market factors that were shaping it's strategic competitiveness.

Digital Transformation For IT And Project Managers

For an IT company, digital transformation presents a different set of challenges than for other sectors. For companies not in the IT sector, such as Domino's mentioned above, the focus is often on shifting a previously non-digital enterprise to the digital world. For an IT company, the digital-first perspective and emphasis on data transformation are often already there. The challenge then becomes how to work with it.

That doesn't mean IT companies have it easy when it comes to digital transformation. Our digital capabilities are always changing, and the internet of today doesn't resemble the internet just thirty years ago. And your current business practices will likely be obsolete or out of place another thirty years from now.

Even Google, the company that defined internet search a few decades ago, puts great effort into staying on top of changing technology and adapting their product line to reflect it. They stated in 2016 that they've moved from a mobile-first strategy to an AI-first one, reflecting their vision of how the world will be in the not too distant future.

Digital transformation for the IT sector means changing your tech strategy's direction - that could mean scrapping or replacing legacy programs or a complete overhaul of your code. For example, companies are now turning to microapps as a way to compartmentalize and streamline business practices. But this can mean reworking how your current programs connect with each other.

A well-developed Application Programming Interface (API) is the foundation for a successful digital transformation project in the IT sector. It'll determine how well programs interact with each other, your team, and the client. An API-led strategy is being embraced by many organisations and could be the pivotal element for both your IT management and digital transformation agenda.

Common Pitfalls

The fatal flaw of many digital transformation strategies, as evidenced above with Procter & Gamble, is a failure to pay attention to market demands. If you don't know what's going on in your own market, your strategy is doomed. This means keeping an eye on what your customers expect in the digital marketplace, and what your competitors may already be doing.

Keeping your departments compartmentalized also means each member of your team has a limited scope of what's happening and what changes to make. It's an old-fashioned way of doing business and can result in a disjointed, tunnel-visioned view of the project. For a successful digital transformation strategy, you need to have everyone in the loop from the top down.

With every team member siloed in their own department and task, it means fewer eyes on the most vital party to your company's digital transformation" the customer. If your business gets too focused on the process of digitizing your processes, you'll miss valuable feedback not only by missing when it comes in but by failing to collect it in the first place.

The growth in Agile methodology provides a solution for all of this by keeping departments out of isolation and opening new channels for communication and redirection as necessary. Encouraging cross-platform collaboration, allowing for continued client communication over a hard contract, and responding to changes instead of a set-in-stone plan provide the ideal way to work with an ever-changing digital market and expectations.

Did you know you can generate a full-featured, documented, and secure REST API in minutes using DreamFactory? Sign up for our free 14 day hosted trial to learn how! Our guided tour will show you how to create an API using an example MySQL database provided to you as part of the trial!

Start Your Digital Transformation Now

Did you know that you can successfully develop an API with limited code knowledge? Start your free trial of DreamFactory to get started today. The instant API creation feature will lay the groundwork for any digital transformation project. DreamFactory will be your one-stop-shop for all things APIs when it comes to digital transformation and IT management.