Digital transformation: looking inside as well as out
The digital transformation of organisations can be incredibly powerful and there are plenty of examples of transformation projects within forward-thinking organisations disrupting established business sectors, bringing new products and services to market, building better engagements with customers, and increasing profits.
Businesses invest huge sums of money refining their customer experiences. However, what if this was turned around? What if more of that investment was focused internally - applying the same user-centred design and technology to improve business performance?
Organisations of all sizes and from all sectors can use technology to improve how they do business by building systems and processes that genuinely empower their employees. Done well it can motivate individuals, inspire management teams, and even provide a better experience for customers.
From the start of a digital transformation project, employee engagement should be a core activity. A company’s employees are integral to a user-centred design process and in the same way companies invest in external customer research and user testing; so the same attention should be paid to the behaviours, requirements and the unique insights retained by members of their own team.
At Box UK we facilitate a range of discovery activities designed to engage employees at all levels. The outputs from this discovery form the foundation for digital transformation. The benefits of employee participation include more rapid adoption of new tools and systems shaped in part by an engaged workforce.
In the main, an internal digital transformation process is focused on productivity and performance. Technology impacts every person and every job role within an organisation and in the majority of cases productivity and performance are limited by old business processes and legacy technology.
The current generation of cloud products and services enable forward thinking organisations to craft experiences that not only make it easier for individuals to work, but also make it more enjoyable, and more productive. Employees can work from multiple locations, and can access and manage content and data at any time and from any device. In our experience employees’ tasks are increasingly connected to those of customers, members or supply chain interactions too, which in itself provides opportunities.
As new products and systems also drive productivity and performance, the bonus for forward thinking organisations is a motivated workforce leading to a higher retention of staff.
Data is at the heart of digital transformation projects, as organisations strive to become insight-led. As platforms, tools and services become ever more consolidated and connected, technology provides the ability to monitor and measure at a micro-level every interaction, purchase and employee, user, member or customer engagement. Big data certainly helps the C-suite to make decisions to gain the advantage. But critically the same big data provides the tools for employees to self measure and to drive individual performance, often enabling creativity and innovation within their role.
Smart organisations are going one step further, linking data, rewards and incentives into their work remuneration culture.
When employees from the top to the bottom of an organisation help create the digital transformation journey, the rate of success is substantially increased. New technology has fundamentally changed the way organisations do business, reaching into every part of the enterprise. It makes sense then that digital transformation starts from within and at every level. By crafting the experience around your employees we enable individuals to focus on key aspects of their job, empowering and encouraging performance, measuring quality and driving innovation. The long-term effect makes for an enhanced customer experience that in turn increases loyalty and conversion.
Andy Franks is Business Director at Box UK
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.”