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Accelerating Digital Modernization
September 9, 2020

Sick of that phrase yet? “Our New Normal?”

I think I might be getting there. My biggest challenge is that this ‘new normal’ is anything but normal and is very contextual based on your own experience. It’s because of this context that people and organizations have actually been responding to what’s happening quite differently.

So let’s throw in another buzz word: Digital Transformation. It’s another construct that’s based on the context of you and your organization. Effectively, digital transformation can take on a few different meanings. However, at this point in the digital market, you should already be, at least somewhat, digitally transformed. And, if anything, many are now looking at digital modernization to see what else they can improve.

Before we define and dive into what a digital modernization effort looks like, it’s important to note that working with digital solutions to enable both the user and the business is extremely important. It’s also a significant spending point for many organizations. According to a recent IDC report, worldwide spending on the technologies and services that enable the digital transformation (DX) of business practices, products, and organizations is forecast to reach $2.3 trillion in 2023.

“In the current competitive business world, digital transformation is the topmost strategic priority for every organization. Nevertheless, the concept is confusing and intricate. Digital transformation involves managing the existing business and building for the future at the same time, something like changing the engine of the plane while in flight,” said Ashutosh Bisht, senior research manager for IDC’s Customer Insights & Analysis Group.

We know that working with new and emerging digital solutions is essential. We also know that to survive in today’s economy, you need to adopt digital modernization efforts. But why is it so challenging? Why do we continue to see an anchor around something that should be taking off with every company?

Letting Go of Legacy: The Things Slowing Down Digital Modernization

In speaking with organizations across almost every vertical, I came to understand what’s slowing down people and their digital modernization efforts. The first wall I’d love to break open is the challenge around the context. That is… what is digital modernization? Let me give you a few examples:

  • New ways of delivering desktops and applications through cloud or virtualization
  • Adopting IoT or new mobility devices to help users
  • Leveraging data-driven solutions to scour your databases and find new patterns
  • Work with augmented reality to improve manufacturing processes
  • Adopt telemedicine solutions for remote patients
  • Deploy an edge design to help with latency and allow your services to be delivered faster
  • Finally modernize some of those applications through DevOps to better utilize things like modern APIs
  • Work with automated identity management and HR solutions, so you don’t have lost or rogue users

To be clear, this list can be quite extensive. This is simply because your digital modernization initiative is based on the context of you and your organization. That is, what part of your business or technology ecosystem are you trying to modernize?

The other major factor, outside of clarity, that’s slowing people down, are legacy components in the data center and the business. This is a significant stopping point because it can be way too expensive to move or replace existing systems or processes. However, just because it ‘works,’ doesn’t mean it’s bringing you any value.

Your ability and willingness to change has to start with possible moving out of your comfort zone. Remember, to become a digital disruptor in your industry, you might need to be disrupted. So, when it comes to your ecosystem, how agile are you? How quickly can you pivot around market demands or other circumstances? Your lack of agility will then translate to a lack of visibility, inadequate policies and procedures, and, most of all, complexity. In my experiences, these are the challenge that legacy infrastructure brings.

Take a pause and think about your business, the technology solutions supporting you, and your users. Are there constraints around user experience, device control, or access? Are you unable to respond to unexpected changes? Are you losing on understanding the value of data simply because you don’t have a good data-driven solution? Your digital modernization initiative can only stem from a little bit of thoughtful review. The good news is that there are a lot of solutions that are ready to tackle your challenges and help with digital modernization, specifically based on your context.

The next scary part is simply getting started.

Digital Modernization Made Easy

You just read this article, and you’re super excited to get started. So, you call your provider and say, “I want to start my digital modernization journey!” Great! But what does that mean to you? The first step to modernizing anything is understanding that you need to modernize, and what within your business or technology landscape needs it.

This is where you build that all-important digital modernization context. It could be as simple as rethinking your virtualization strategy, or as big as refactoring entire applications into the cloud. The point is that it’s no longer a super high-level construct and has actual meaning to you and your organization.

The ‘new normal’ we’re all experiencing won’t be normal for very long. It’ll only become a part of our everyday lives and how we do business. This means that you need to think of different ways of supporting your users, protecting their data, and responding to an often uncertain market. You’ll need to understand better what types of legacy components you want to keep and what becomes imperative to modernize.

Finally, you’ll need to better work with your users to understand what they need to be productive. This might be a better toolset, a new way of delivering applications, a better way to collaborate, or a new way to define trust and improve security postures.

The main point is that these high-level buzz terms do have a deeper meaning. They can’t be glossed over. My most significant viewpoint on all of this is that those organizations that have adopted digital modernization efforts have been able to weather this entire storm far better than those that are still sitting on legacy systems. If anything, this is a time to reflect. If you’re already digitally transformed, good job! Now, look for ways you can improve and modernize.

If this is still a foreign concept to you, it’s time to ask some more profound questions about your users, your technology, and your business. The good news is that you don’t have to ask those questions alone. More people than you think have similar concerns around user security, connectivity, data, management, and more. This is a great time to reach out to your trusted partners and have some good, contextual conversations around digital modernization efforts. Your business and users will thank you.