A CTO or CIO exploring the IT market may feel like they are visiting a medieval street market. Providers of technology solutions and innovations are clamouring for their attention, and (too) often the technical decision-makers are tempted to buy the latest hardware or software. At KPMG, we think this is a mistake. It is not supply, but rather demand from the business that should dictate the implementation of technology.

In 2022, few organisations are still proud to say they have been 'digitally transformed'. This makes sense, because the very entrepreneurs who understand the point of transformation know that it is never 'finished'. Apart from implementing new tech and tools, a digital transformation mainly consists of developing a resilient foundation that enables subsequent mini transformations. That is the essence of agile operating in what we call a 'Powered Enterprise'. A Powered Enterprise is an organisation that continuously changes and improves, immediately responding to an ever-changing market. In the future, that is the only path that organisations need to follow if they want to leave competitors behind.

SaaS offers solutions

A Powered Enterprise cannot be built in a day. There is no big, red button you push as an organisation to become agile. Rather, you pick the low-hanging fruit and approach transformation the way you would eat an elephant: in small bites. With the rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions in the cloud, there are hundreds of business applications available that instantly make your organisation more agile. You just need to know which software you can implement without customisation, and in which areas you are 'unique' enough to request customisation from your software vendor.

Starting from a desired business outcome and working backwards towards the technology needed to achieve that outcome, you will [pinpoint exactly what you do (and don't...) need and which stakeholders to include in your project. After all, technology is far from being the only pillar on which the transformation leans. You also need to do homework on your business processes, people, services, performance & data, and governance. These all affect each other. Only when you have insight into all the links will you know which levers to pull to make your business faster, more agile and better.

Don't forget people in a digital transformation

Organisations that make the mistake of focusing too much on technology often fail their 'people'. After all, even the best technologies in the world are useless if people refuse to use them. Therefore, a digital transformation is not just digital. Quite the contrary. The way people work and think will also have to change.

The Covid-19 pandemic generated considerable support for changing technology because everyone recognised that things had to be more 'digital' than before. But claims that this is 'the new normal' and 'the future' are far too premature. In fact, the Covid-19 crisis showed that nothing is certain, including the future. Therefore, don't think you are building a Powered Enterprise because the future of your organisation is set in stone. Rather, you are beginning a transformation now to make your next transformation fast, smooth and successful. A Powered Enterprise can move with any change in the market - even if that change turns out to be 'back to the old normal'.

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Time for a new vantage point

Instead of making transformation a goal make it a way of business.

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