Businesses lack to expertise to properly execute digital strategies
A report released by digital commerce consultancy Salmon and managed cloud company Rackspace has revealed that many businesses don’t have the expertise required to execute a digital strategy and some (19%) have no strategy in place at all.
While 81% of businesses have a clearly defined digital strategy, only 11% are digital experts - the majority (57%) are classified as laggards hindered by weak strategies and lacking the ability to execute.
This impacts on digital transformation and many businesses could be wasting investment into this area by not having way in which to measure its impact on the business.
Neil Stewart, CEO of Salmon, said: “Digital transformation can open up new revenue streams, improve operational efficiency and help organisations deliver new services. ‘Digital’ is not a new phenomenon, however, embarking on projects still brings challenges – from unified decision-making to ensuring the right in-house skills are in place. This study shows that the problem is two-fold – most businesses not only invest without the right strategy but their ability to execute is poor. This is a huge problem and it must be addressed. Businesses need help to digitally transform and all in the industry, from vendors to governments, must act now.”
Looking at the top challenges organisations faced, those identified were: a lack of funds allocated to digital strategy (49%), conflicting KPIs from across the business (38%), poor integration with legacy systems (33%) and poor execution on past projects impacting the digital team’s credibility (27%).
In response to the study of global IT and business decision-makers, Salmon and Rackspace have developed three pillars on which they believe all businesses should approach digital transformation – taking them from laggard to expert:
1. Focus digital transformation on the customer: the study revealed that the experts approached digital with customer impact in mind, focused on generating new revenue, attracting new customers and launching into new markets. Whereas laggards focus on internal processes and cost reduction. All businesses should take the outward-looking approach - first decide what their digital customer experience will be and build their strategy from there.
2. Unite the business to drive digital: digital transformation cannot sit with one team. Instead, organisations should assess digital requirements from across the business and set objectives. They should bring together cross-functional digital talent and break away from legacy ways of operating. A digital Centre of Excellence combining business, customer experience, and technology expertise is a great start.
3. Find the right funding model: the study revealed that digital experts set clearly defined and articulated KPIs not only targeted at revenue. Across the business, metrics such as customer lifetime value and employee satisfaction are just as important as increase in revenue. Digital experts also developed their digital strategies with the involvement of finance department to establish a clear funding model early on.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”