Digital strategy formulation is often used by organizations to streamline their internal and external business process. Developing an appropriate rationale and approach to digitizing business processes is a complex process that many organizations may have neither the time nor expertise to effectively implement. However, Accenture research found that 90% of companies outsource their digital strategy and transformation efforts to outside solution providers. Although there are many challenges when opting to outsource a digital strategy solution, many enterprise-level businesses have five major reasons for outsourcing these efforts.
Reason # 1 – Industry-Specific Expertise With Digital Strategy
Industries such as healthcare, fintech, and manufacturing have very specific needs and nuances that require specific types of expertise when engaging in a digital strategy project. Factors that can negatively impact internal efforts towards successful implementation include:
- A non-digital organizational culture
- Absence of digital skills and/or experience
- Limitations in adopting specific principles within an agile transformation project
- Reliance on legacy systems and architecture, and
- Lack of a security-centric focus within digital strategy and transformation efforts.
Integrating new technologies and concepts such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and artificial intelligence (AI) within these industry domains requires a thorough understanding of issues and potential risks. Outsourcing the development of an architectural roadmap to a consultant with industry-specific experience would result in an extensively detailed digital strategy for any organization. Such a strategy would allow for more effective implementation and execution of digital transformation efforts and streamline internal processes towards maximum efficiency.
Reason # 2 – Greater Managerial Oversight and Risk Mitigation
Managing every aspect of digital strategy assessment can be daunting for businesses regardless of their size. Understanding project scope, available resources and technology, and internal capability for digital transformation are critical for driving success. Many leaders may not have the opportunity to master various processes and other aspects of digital transformation. Outsourcing to a reliable expert provides greater opportunities for accountability and oversight allowing leadership to delegate the finer tasks to consultants while maintaining day-to-day business functions.
There is always a level of risk with any digital strategy and transformation initiative. Hiring experienced, professional IT consultants familiar with these types of projects can help organizations avoid potential missteps in the process. Consultants have specific industry expertise can advise on hidden issues, offer insights into best practices, and provide a detailed roadmap for both strategy and project implementation. IT consultants with specific industry experience can assist businesses in meeting their goals more efficiently.
Reason # 3 – Flexibility & Scalability
Not all organizations are alike in size and strategy. The concepts of digital strategy and transformation are not one-size-fits-all methodologies. Formulating a digital strategy approach flexible enough to handle ever-changing business needs and requirements requires both a big-picture perspective as well as insight into the intricacies around formulating potential solutions. An experienced IT solutions consultant can assist with an overall assessment of your enterprise’s current capacities and better prepare your business to handle the transition in an ever-changing business climate.
Outsourcing digital strategy assessment and creation to an experienced IT consultant also provides greater scalability. As business demands change, organizations often need to refocus resources and capability to meet those demands. Working with an IT consultant allows efforts to be flexible providing resources and expertise when they are most required when working towards business goals. Adapting digital efforts up or down provides more options for any size business.
Reason # 4 – Outsourcing Digital Strategy Fosters Collaboration and Cooperation
In-house IT professionals often find themselves stretched professionally both in terms of challenges and workload. Taking on a digital transformation strategy project is a complicated endeavor, and leveraging internal resources means that some professionals may be working outside of their particular domain. With staff members at varying levels of proficiency and expertise, there are potential complications to the assessment, creation, and implementation of a comprehensive digital strategy.
Outsourcing these efforts to external IT consultants can foster a greater sense of collaboration and cooperation within an organization. Integrating external IT consultants into the process provides a wide-angle view of enterprise processes and provides greater insights into adopting this philosophy. Integrating external consultants and internal staff fosters for interaction and cooperation, allowing enterprise staff and leadership to bond over shared goals and opportunities.
Digital transformation is not a simple process and requires the full support of internal stakeholders at all levels of leadership. A comprehensive assessment of factors contributing to this digital strategy formulation is a key first step in the process.
Reason # 5 – Security-Centric Focus
With an increased focus on potential security issues, a number of businesses seek to balance efficiency with appropriate data and network protection measures. Outsourcing to a consultant provides an opportunity for businesses to acquire best-in-class security and safeguarding technology. Many data strategy consultants also have experience with best practices in data security, governance, and stewardship. This provides insight towards identifying potential security risks as well as adopting appropriate technical and software measures to address them.
Internal Challenges to Digital Strategy Implementation
According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, a number of digital strategy initiatives fail due to unsuccessful efforts to scale innovations beyond early pilot work. Even though a small number of businesses invest heavily in these initiatives, there are varying degrees of success of overall Return on Digital Investment (RODI) within each organization. The Harvard Business Review cited two specific challenges that organizations faced when approaching digital strategy and transformation:
- Managers and other staff were not aligned with the goals of overall transformation, and therefore efforts were unnecessarily complicated. Outsourcing initial strategy efforts might have allowed enterprise leadership to more accurately define and describe issues that can influence a strong digital transformation strategy; and
- Some organizations face a critical gap between their ability to implement a digital transformation initiative and the need to scale that initiative throughout the entire organization; having external consultation would provide greater actionable insights that would be addressed in a thorough strategy.
Despite these challenges, businesses that outsource digital strategy efforts have experienced more effective implementation efforts within their organization. Although an internal evaluation might appear to be the least costly option, outsourcing that initial process frequently results in a greater return on investment and enhancement of initiatives.
Undertaking a project of this scope can be daunting for any organization. Outsourcing the design and roadmap to an experienced IT consultancy can ease the process and provide a smoother path towards successful digital transformation.
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