4 Digital Transformation Focus Areas During a Pandemic

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, April 9th 2020 — Categories: Datacenter Automation, DevOps, IT Operations, Digital Transformation

You’ve already been disrupted –- now see why this is an opportunity for transformation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into many IT plans and budgets for 2020. We won’t dive into that right now, as it’s been said many times over.

At Green House Data, outside of our critical infrastructure and select members of our support team, we have been working from home for three weeks running and we are finding our groove in this new paradigm. Many of you likely find yourselves in a similar situation. Hopefully, things are starting to settle down for you after the initial scramble to enable your remote workers. (If not, we may be able to help.)

Now, many IT managers are turning towards the grim possibility of reduced budget. With economic uncertainty looming, it may be enough to just keep the proverbial lights on. This is a great time to take a look at both short- and long-term opportunities presented by pursue digital transformation.

Your daily operations are already disrupted. Your users are adopting new ways of working. And even if your IT staff and budget are stretched thin, many aspects of digital transformation can actually help you increase efficiency and deliver more value to your organization.

Here are the most vital transformative measures to focus on during this time of upheaval.
 

Break Through Siloes with Agile Practices

Pandemic workplace practices are breaking down siloes before our eyes. As workers are physically separated, clever ways to encourage collaboration, teamwork, and community have sprung up, from digital water cooler chat hours to new platforms and technologies. For some, this remote work scenario may have even led to new connections with departments or individuals they have never worked alongside before!

As these connections are discovered, it’s a unique opportunity to encourage DevOps style practices throughout your IT operations. Self-service help-desks, team integrations, and feedback loops that span traditionally siloed arenas such as ITOps, development, security, and support – these are some of the ways you can foster innovation by dissolving departmental barriers. Just don’t forget to get C-level buy-in and roll out your agile initiatives with clear and regular communication about who is involved, what needs to happen, and why these changes make sense for your goals.
 

Make Everything as a Service a Reality

We’ve been kicking around the term “XaaS” for years as marketing teams added “aaS” to the end of, well, just about any kind of web-based, on-demand service. But it appears that the time of XaaS has truly come. One of the most evident arbiters of this change is large scale events going digital-only. Events as a Service!

This is an ideal time to scale your cloud and -as-a-Service strategy. You may have already signed up for additional monthly services to meet immediate needs. As your consumption grows, you’ll need IT staff in charge of managing your subscription spend. Meanwhile, as leadership grows more comfortable with operational expenses vs. fixed cost spending on physical hardware, you can lay out a plan to continue scaling services into the future.

The key is determining which platforms and applications are a good fit to change to a consumption-based model, as going wholesale into the cloud may lead to greater costs for some situations.
 

Focus on the Customer (or User) Experience

Whether your IT services face the public or just internal stakeholders, you are delivering a product and your digital solutions should be focused on that end user as the customer. The pandemic environment has brought out the best in many of us, as we look out for our neighbors, families, small businesses, and communities at large. While it’s easy to dismiss pandemic-oriented services as opportunistic, the general attitude of customer-centricity is one you would be wise to adopt moving forward. We are always in this together, not just in times of crisis.

The customer experience is what ultimately drives your revenue or proves the value of your IT services (and the individuals providing them). One of the first steps to digital transformation is changing your driving force from products to the customer experience. How does your technology make things easier for the customer or the end-user? Soliciting and implementing feedback from users into your technology delivery, and doing so quickly enough that they take notice, will lead to amazing experiences that help you grow and retain your customer base.
 

Identify Top Targets for Automation

If you had IT staff earmarked for a new project that has been put on hold, have them work on gaining efficiencies and reducing cost through automation. This is one transformative effort that you can point to directly as a cost-saving initiative.

You don’t have to jump in the deep end with AI, machine learning, or a deep set of cloud automation rules. Start by experimenting and automating simple and routine tasks using mature technology like business rules engines, mobile app platforms, and native cloud automation tools. When you’re ready to go deeper, explore low-code, AI, and machine learning.

 

Many other changes to your IT operations may occur either as a direct result of the pandemic or as a related side effect (so to speak). But the use of automation, agile practices, customer-centric services, and -a-a-S and cloud solutions will play a role in any other technology or process that you implement.

It may be overwhelming to throw too much change at your organization in one go, but it appears we are in this situation for an indeterminate period. Prioritize your transformation efforts and lay out a plan now. When we’re on the other side of this, you’ll be ready to capitalize.

Want to learn more about digital transformation? Check out our infographic 5 Barriers to Digital Transformation, or download our digital brief to dig deeper into what factors lead to success.