Making a success of digital transformation is as much about supporting cultural change across the business as it will be about buying about buying shiny new systems and services.
Tech executives speaking at the recent DTX: NOW virtual event outlined how their organisations have coped with the huge challenges of the past six months and offered their tips for succeeding with digital transformation in the post-COVID age.
1. Create faster planning cycles for digitalisation
Major General Tom Copinger-Symes, director of military digitisation at UK Strategic Command, says the military often takes years, even decades, to bring its plans for change – such as the design for a new fighter plane or battleship – to fruition. He says coronavirus has meant slower moving organisations have had to move quicker.
"Sometimes it turns out to be a lot easier to take risks in a crisis, because you'll mobilise around that purpose, and some of the concerns that you have when you're not in crisis drift away, and suddenly people become very empowered, very willing to take risks, and then you suddenly find you can move much faster," he says.
While the military's role is to be resilient and to cope with shocks at all times, the pandemic has required a series of rapid responses to significant tech challenges. Those challenges have included increasing capacity for remote working, getting laptops to the NHS, and helping to establish the UK's temporary Nightingale hospitals.
"Amidst all the misery, this has been a great opportunity to fast-forward a lot of changes that were on the stocks anyway," says Copinger-Symes. "So I wouldn't want to say it's been positive, because that would undercut the tragedies out there, but I think we've adjusted in stride and there are a lot of opportunities to look out for, too."
Like other organisations, the UK military has to put its five-year plan for tech-led change on the back-burner while it deals with the priorities of the pandemic. However, this change in emphasis has helped the organisation to reprioritise – and Copinger-Symes hopes the move away from a slower planning cycle is permanent, particularly when it comes to tech.
Image source: Information Age