Gartner: 6 Barriers to Becoming a Digital Business
July 27, 2018
Share this

As organizations continue to embrace digital transformation, they are finding that digital business is not as simple as buying the latest technology — it requires significant changes to culture and systems. A recent Gartner, Inc. survey found that only a small number of organizations have been able to successfully scale their digital initiatives beyond the experimentation and piloting stages.

"The reality is that digital business demands different skills, working practices, organizational models and even cultures," said Marcus Blosch, Research VP at Gartner. "To change an organization designed for a structured, ordered, process-oriented world to one designed for ecosystems, adaptation, learning and experimentation is hard. Some organizations will navigate that change, and others that can't change will become outdated and be replaced."

Gartner has identified six barriers that CIOs must overcome to transform their organization into a digital business:

Barrier No. 1: A Change-Resisting Culture

Digital innovation can be successful only in a culture of collaboration. People have to be able to work across boundaries and explore new ideas. In reality, most organizations are stuck in a culture of change-resistant silos and hierarchies.

"Culture is organizational 'dark matter' — you can't see it, but its effects are obvious," said Blosch. "The challenge is that many organizations have developed a culture of hierarchy and clear boundaries between areas of responsibilities. Digital innovation requires the opposite: collaborative cross-functional and self-directed teams that are not afraid of uncertain outcomes."

CIOs aiming to establish a digital culture should start small: Define a digital mindset, assemble a digital innovation team, and shield it from the rest of the organization to let the new culture develop. Connections between the digital innovation and core teams can then be used to scale new ideas and spread the culture.

Barrier No. 2: Limited Sharing and Collaboration

The lack of willingness to share and collaborate is a challenge not only at the ecosystem level but also inside the organization. Issues of ownership and control of processes, information and systems make people reluctant to share their knowledge. Digital innovation with its collaborative cross-functional teams is often very different from what employees are used to with regards to functions and hierarchies — resistance is inevitable.

"It's not necessary to have everyone on board in the early stages. Try to find areas where interests overlap, and create a starting point. Build a first version, test the idea and use the success story to gain the momentum needed for the next step," said Blosch.

Barrier No. 3: The Business Isn't Ready

Many business leaders are caught up in the hype around digital business. But when the CIO or CDO wants to start the transformation process, it turns out that the business doesn't have the skills or resources needed.

"CIOs should address the digital readiness of the organization to get an understanding of both business and IT readiness," Blosch advised. "Then, focus on the early adopters with the willingness and openness to change and leverage digital. But keep in mind that digital may just not be relevant to certain parts of the organization."

Barrier No. 4: The Talent Gap

Most organizations follow a traditional pattern — organized into functions such as IT, sales and supply chain and largely focused on operations. Change can be slow in this kind of environment.

Digital innovation requires an organization to adopt a different approach. People, processes and technology blend to create new business models and services. Employees need new skills focused on innovation, change and creativity along with the new technologies themselves, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

"There are two approaches to breach the talent gap — upskill and bimodal," said Blosch. "In smaller or more innovative organizations, it is possible to redefine individuals' roles to include more skills and competencies needed to support digital. In other organizations, using a bimodal approach makes sense by creating a separate group to handle innovation with the requisite skill set."

Barrier No. 5: The Current Practices Don't Support the Talent

Having the right talent is essential, and having the right practices lets the talent work effectively. Highly structured and slow traditional processes don't work for digital. There are no tried and tested models to implement, but every organization has to find the practices that suits it best.

"Some organizations may shift to a product management-based approach for digital innovations because it allows for multiple iterations. Operational innovations can follow the usual approaches until the digital team is skilled and experienced enough to extend its reach and share the learned practices with the organization," Blosch explained.

Barrier No. 6: Change Isn't Easy

It's often technically challenging and expensive to make digital work. Developing platforms, changing the organizational structure, creating an ecosystem of partners — all of this costs time, resources and money.

Over the long term, enterprises should build the organizational capabilities that make change simpler and faster. To do that, they should develop a platform-based strategy that supports continuous change and design principles and then innovate on top of that platform, allowing new services to draw from the platform and its core services.

Share this

The Latest

September 19, 2019

You must dive into various aspects or themes of services so that you can gauge authentic user experience. There are usually five main themes that the customer thinks of when experiencing a service ...

September 18, 2019

Service desks teams use internally focused performance-based metrics more than many might think. These metrics are essential and remain relevant, but they do not provide any insight into the user experience. To gain actual insight into user satisfaction, you need to change your metrics. The question becomes: How do I efficiently change my metrics? Then, how do you best go about it? ...

September 17, 2019

The skills gap is a very real issue impacting today's IT professionals. In preparation for IT Pro Day 2019, celebrated on September 17, 2019, SolarWinds explored this skills gap by surveying technology professionals around the world to understand their needs and how organizations are addressing these needs ...

September 16, 2019

Top performing organizations (TPOs) in managing IT Operations are experiencing significant operational and business benefits such as 5.9x shorter average Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) per incident as compared to all other organizations, according to a new market study from Digital Enterprise Journal ...

September 12, 2019

Multichannel marketers report that mobile-friendly websites have emerged as a dominant engagement channel for their brands, according to Gartner. However, Gartner research has found that too many organizations build their mobile websites without accurate knowledge about, or regard for, their customer's mobile preferences ...

September 11, 2019

Do you get excited when you discover a new service from one of the top three public clouds or a new public cloud provider? I do. But every time you feel excited about new cloud offerings, you should also feel a twinge of fear. Because in the tech world, each time we introduce something new we also add a new point of failure for our application and potentially a service we are stuck with. This is why thinking about the long-tail cloud for your organization is important ...

September 10, 2019

A solid start to migration can be approached three ways — all of which are ladder up to adopting a Software Intelligence strategy ...

September 09, 2019

Many aren't doing the due diligence needed to properly assess and facilitate a move of applications to the cloud. This is according to the recent 2019 Cloud Migration Report which revealed half of IT leaders at banks, insurance and telecommunications companies do not conduct adequate risk assessments prior to moving apps over to the cloud. Essentially, they are going in blind and expecting everything to turn out ok. Spoiler alert: It doesn't ...

September 05, 2019

Research conducted by Aite Group uncovered more than 80 global eCommerce sites that were actively being compromised by Magecart groups, according to a new report, In Plain Sight II: On the Trail of Magecart ...

September 04, 2019

In this blog, I'd like to expand beyond the TAP and look at the role Packet Brokers play in an organization's visibility architecture. Here are 5 common mistakes that are made when deploying Packet Brokers, and how to avoid them ...