Many organizations rushed into DX but still could not overcome certain global problems. This writer argues for variant approach instead …

Digital transformation (DX) has long been front and center of the C-suite agenda.

At the onset of the pandemic across the globe, as much as 87% of organizations had scrambled to accelerate digital deployments: yet few were completely ready for further cascading global developments. Why?

Although digital transformation helps drive long-term strategic thinking, it is pertinent that organizations consider adopting a practical digital acceleration strategy.

This is a milestone-based shorter-term approach featuring iterative processes to help organizations focus on continuously adapting their current technology capabilities to keep up with ambivalent business climates and achieve business goals sustainably.

Digitalized but not ready?
Over the past decade, there has been a paradigm shift in how businesses approach technology adoption.

Huge disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic have shown that rapid innovation and iterative implementation can—in existential crises—often be more effective than multi-year, multi-million dollar transformations.

Today, organizations are no longer working with blank-canvas problems that digital ‘transformation’ initiatives tend to resolve overnight. According to some studies, the top five risk factors most affecting digital adoption exercises over the next five years include:
    • Remote- and hybrid- work (40%)
    • Changing market contexts (34%)
    • Keeping pace with growth (34%)
    • Shifting customer expectations (34%)
    • Technological disruption (33%)

Central to combating these risks is understanding what the core objectives of the business and the technology are, and their wider context.

Adrian Bugaian, Delivery Partner, Endava

In turn, each of these risk factors further emphasizes the need to build upon and improve existing capabilities, rather than overhauling entire systems and potentially opening up organizations to further risk. An effective digital adoption strategy must ensure that the organization is empowered with the freedom to respond to dynamic needs.

Using an iterative approach to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and market conditions acts as a safeguard, as it compels organizations to constantly re-evaluate their current approach and technology capabilities, matching it periodically to meet their goals. This reduces business risks associated with digital adoption, and both the public and private sectors will be able to analyze, acknowledge and fine-tune their digital strategy upon the new trends, actions, attitudes and plans with future-proofing in mind.

Ultimately, the path forward in digital adoption is acceleration, not transformation. Employing such a mindset and strategy will free up business resources for more agile innovation and reaction, deliberately driving progress that is far more meaningful and purposeful.

The Digital Acceleration approach
It is interesting to note that the majority of digital innovation today builds upon pre-existing infrastructure and capabilities. Many organizations are no longer seeking to build their capabilities from scratch, but are now trying to grow and elevate their existing ones instead.

Studies have found that many organization already implementing technology adoption are split into two camps: 70% focused on short-term delivery versus 30% invested in long-term outcomes.

The majority that chose the shorter-term delivery route have focused more on digital acceleration than digital transformation. Employing such a mindset and strategy can free up business resources for more agile innovation and reaction, deliberately driving progress that is far more meaningful and purposeful.

Also, research has unearthed five common traits shared by all leaders choosing this path: They…
    • … build on what they know
    • … embrace change
    • … focus on iterative milestones
    • … understand the data journey
    • … take a ‘user-first’ approach

To ensure the efficacy of this path, such leaders will need to continuously scrutinize, modernize and upgrade their digital technologies. True ‘digital acceleration’ is not a one-and-done overhaul, but an ongoing process that is tactical and has achievable milestones set in place.

When these acceleration tactics are connected by an overall strategy or roadmap that focuses on practical deliverables, many business challenges can then be solved faster.

Sustaining digital acceleration
Creating the digital acceleration roadmap means first carefully examining potential solutions and considering which are most likely to deliver more value.

For example, the metaverse should not be adopted purely because it is new, but because it provides a significant business value to existing processes.

In the long run, through focusing on set milestones, organizations will be able to develop mature business lines that are well-equipped to successfully take on ever-changing challenges. 

Within a clearly defined digital acceleration strategy, organizations can realize their ambition to progressively upscale their digital capabilities in an agile, sustainable manner.