Buzzword alert – are you ready?

Digital Transformation.

Doesn’t ring a bell?

Not surprised.

About 7 in 10 organizations are developing or have developed a digital transformation strategy, which means, conversely, 30% of organizations have not.

The laggards have either ignored it (whistling past the graveyard as they do), kicked it down the road or worse, don’t know what they don’t know.

Before we get deeper into it as a topic, let’s take a moment to define it, as I’m sure, like me, you probably have a loose understanding of what it is. I found a bunch of definitions, but here are three that describe it succinctly:

Gartner have told the world they believe “Digital business transformation is the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model.”

Forrester defines digital transformation as “harnessing digital assets to continually improve customer outcomes while increasing operational agility. Digital transformation is a state of being; it’s not something with definitive beginning and ending points, but a constant state of motion.”

IDC describes digital transformation as “transforming your decision making with technology — utilizing new sources of innovation and creativity to enhance experiences and improve financial performance.”

In short, Digital Transformation enables service innovation (think API’s), efficiency and productivity gains (think AI and automation) and business performance management (think IoT and big data). In fact, the Top 5 benefits of adopting a digital model into your operation are:

  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Meeting changing customer expectations
  • Improved product quality
  • Reduced product development costs
  • Introduction of new revenue streams

How is this accomplished?

By enabling worker productivity through tools such as AI-assisted processes, better managed business performance through real-time data availability and meeting customer experience expectations through mobile apps and social media.

And guess what the single biggest requirement in your digital transformation strategy is?

Getting your Network right.

You need a robust, reliable network that can scale to meet your digital strategy – whether that’s building an app, improving your online presence, or improving your workforce productivity. Your business will naturally become increasingly dependent on the network and as your business scales, you will need to be able to continuously add more bandwidth at higher speeds to accommodate larger volumes of data and more users.

In addition to scalability, the network quality and performance needs to be reliable with minimal downtime – you need a fast, responsive network that performs as expected. A poor network can harm your business, impacting your online presence, employee productivity, your ability to take orders and make transactions, and customer support. Non-responsive or slow networks which will impede the success of your business.

Choosing the right network to allow your business to sell your products/services profitably, quickly, and with superior customer satisfaction is a foundation to digital transformation success.

What Your Network Must Do to Achieve Digital Transformation

The biggest disruptive technologies today are cloud, mobility, collaboration, and big data. All these technologies are decidedly network-centric and depend absolutely on connectivity and network infrastructure for success. A full 58% of executives are focused on the cloud as a competitive differentiator, but 65% reported that “their current infrastructure is struggling to support the rapid adoption of digital technologies.” The network must be robust and high performing or digital transformation cannot happen.

As a result, here are three things your network must be able to do when you embark upon your digital transformation: scale as needed, minimize downtime and perform up to expectations.

Scale as Needed

You can’t be limited by network performance (speed) or bandwidth. Otherwise, the cost of keeping up with business demands will become astronomical. You need to be able to continuously add more bandwidth at higher speeds to accommodate larger volumes of data, more users or more bandwidth-hungry services like video, VoIP, cloud applications.

That’s why scaling is also important. Cloud, mobile, the Internet of Things, big data and even artificial-intelligence solutions are becoming critical technologies for businesses of all sizes. This makes the network arguably the single most important item to focus on when making investments over the next few years.

Minimize Downtime

As you digitally transform your business, it becomes more dependent on the network. It’s what keeps your products or services selling, your support lines helping customers and your employees productive behind it all. That’s why the service-level agreement (SLA) is one of the most important aspects of your contract with your network provider.

To determine what SLA you need (how close to 100% uptime is required), you must consider how long you could afford to go without network access. What would it do to your business if your network went down and you couldn’t take orders, talk to customers or complete transactions? Although you must always balance with cost, generally you want the higher SLA, as downtime costs actual dollars that you might never recover.

As well, consider deploying IP networks with built-in redundancies, such as SD-WAN using physically diverse circuits that will allow you to load balance and divert traffic, if necessary.

Perform as Expected

Not just downtime, but poor network quality – poor latency – will detract directly from a digital business’ ability to succeed. When Accenture asked firms to rank the reason’s they were seeking to digitally transform their businesses, the top responses were to sell profitably (58%), quickly (51%), and with superior customer satisfaction (48%). All three of these things depend on a fast and responsive network.

And now the commercial…

FlexNetworks owns and operates one of the most robust and reliable Fibre Optic Networks in the country, providing connectivity solutions that enable organizations to embark on their own Digital Transformation journey. Want to learn more about the benefits of having connectivity that makes your business better, contact Sales@flexnetworks.ca.