Overcoming 5 IT Stumbling Blocks to Digital Transformation
September 25, 2019

Steven ZoBell
Workfront

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The pace of business is accelerating in every industry, and digital disruptors are shaking up all the rules. To succeed and thrive, it's no longer enough to deliver great products and services at a competitive price. The businesses that truly lead will be those that can innovate faster and execute more efficiently. The writing is already on the wall — more than half of the companies in the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000, and have been replaced with more nimble competitors.

Today's organizations clearly understand the value of digital transformation and its ability to spark innovation. According to Gartner, two-thirds of all business leaders believe that their companies must pick up the pace of digitalization to remain competitive. Yet at the same time, it's surprising that fewer than half of organizations have undertaken a digital transformation project.

How can they overcome this inertia? Many organizations are taking a close look at how they approach project management. For example, the agile methodology enables organizations to break large projects down into more manageable tasks, which are tackled in short iterations or sprints.

Agile is a flexible approach that lets teams adapt to change quickly and deliver work fast. First developed for the software development industry, it's being applied across a variety of industries today. There are 12 key principles that guide agile project management, several of which focus on speed of execution and inspiring innovation, such as:

■ Customer satisfaction is always the highest priority and is achieved through rapid and continuous delivery.

■ Changing environments are embraced at any stage of the process to provide the customer with a competitive advantage.

■ A product or service is delivered with higher frequency.

■ Stakeholders and developers collaborate closely on a daily basis.

Agile has tremendous potential to unlock positive outcomes for project managers and teams, as well as customers. It can enable faster solution deployment, increased flexibility and adaptability to change, better resource utilization, and an improved focus on specific customer needs.

As IT organizations become more strategic, they are in a strong position to apply the principles of agile to lead real digital transformation within their organizations. The key to seizing this opportunity is identifying the most common stumbling blocks and moving past them. Getting started on a digital transformation initiative doesn't have to be a daunting prospect. The first steps can be as easy as focusing on simplifying processes that are highly manual, or require multiple validation steps by different groups. Look for smart ways to apply technology to improve outcomes and help streamline tasks that people do every day.

Workfront has identified five of the top challenges that IT teams face in digital transformation — and how to overcome them.

1. Lack of digital transformation strategy

IT sometimes struggles to take a position of leadership when it comes to digital transformation. A roadmap approach that identifies priorities and defines best practices can help IT expand its role and take the lead in digital transformation initiatives.

2. No visibility into work

Without insight into a project's status, team members and stakeholders can fall out of alignment. Centralizing all work within a project by collaborating in one place can provide a better view of work status, and better visibility to achieve strategic goals.

3. Work is not aligned with business goals

IT needs current, relevant data to see where projects succeed and where they fall off track. By modernizing your tech stack, collecting all data in one place and sharing data with integrated tools, your IT team can better align its initiatives with your top business imperatives.

4. Work is often delayed or slow

Too many tools and confusing processes can complicate work. By minimizing the number of tools, and automating and streamlining processes, you can build more efficient, repeatable processes, and hit deadlines faster.

5. A perception that work is inefficient and ineffective

When projects repeatedly run late or over budget, stakeholders may start to question the value of IT. Making projects more scalable and reproducible can help boost team efficiency, effectiveness, and confidence.

It's clear that digital transformation is no longer a promise on the horizon, but something that's happening here and now. According to Forrester's 2016 Global Business Technographics Data and Analytics Survey, 63 percent of global analytics decision makers surveyed stated that innovation is a high or critical priority for their organizations. By considering the top challenges that your IT organization faces today, and taking the initiative to move beyond them, you can move your organization several steps forward on its journey to digital transformation.

Steven ZoBell is Chief Product & Technology Officer at Workfront
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