Maintaining a transformational trajectory | TechRadar

Derek Britton from Micro Focus discusses how organizations can navigate the post pandemic world by employing digital transformation, which will be a critical component of success.

About the author

Derek Britton is Director of communications and brand strategy at Micro Focus.

When required, a goose performs something called a whiffling maneuver, to cause a sudden drop in altitude without loss of control. Evasive and creative means such as this are part of how nature has evolved to help species avoid danger.

While the world cautiously anticipates some level of recovery from the worst impacts of Covid, we are by no means out of the storm, either in terms of managing the virus, or its global economic impact.

Weathering the storm

The UK’s gross domestic product (GDP), for example, while estimated to have grown for a fifth consecutive month in June 2021, remains 2.2% below its pre-pandemic level. On a wider scale, the OECD reports that unemployment in many regions remains high, with 8 million more people in the OECD region out of work than before the (Covid-19) crisis. Projections for a return to pre-pandemic levels of employment is not until the end of 2024.

Within this significant macro-level change, upheaval and transformational change faces entire industries and business models. The inexorable rise of online retail sales – at about 20% of total revenue pre-pandemic, accelerated its growth to around 34% by late 2020. Conversely, brick-and mortar-retail has struggled significantly, as have the hospitality and travel sectors.

Market commentators are projecting continued shifting sands in a future digital economy, covering dynamics in areas such as business skills and technology. McKinsey projects that “more than 100 million workers across the eight countries we studied are likely to need to change occupations by 2030. That is 12% more than our estimate before the pandemic. ” The same report mentioned that “75% of North American and European executives responding to a survey expect increased investment in new technologies through 2024.” IDC offers a similar perspective, stating recently “By 2023, 75% of organizations will have comprehensive digital transformation (DX) implementation roadmaps, up from 27%.”

While there are signs of a return to some semblance of normality, this varies by sector and by region, and there have been significant setbacks throughout. Few observers would suggest anything other than unpredictable conditions ahead of us.

Negotiating the crosswinds

“Investment in new technology” is, of course, nothing new per se. It wasn’t terribly long ago that internet-based commerce was considered a new idea. History shows just how popular an idea that became, and the massive investments followed. Technology investments in the digital era remain focused both on solving genuine challenges organizations face both today, and looking ahead into an uncertain future.

Coping with the challenges of today, versus planning for an uncertain future, fairly describes the today’s critical digital dilemma, which manifests as a challenge in four key business technology domains:

Accelerate Application Delivery: Deliver at high speed with low riskSimplify IT Transformation: Cut complexity and build agilityStrengthen Cyber Resilience: Adapt with intelligenceAnalyze Data in Time to Act: Increase prediction accuracy

Unleashing your inner goose

Maintaining an overall direction while coping with unexpected environmental changes is not a new idea. Ask a goose. An entry in Quora explained, “Whiffling allows a goose to make a controlled but very fast descent for a second or two. All the aerodynamics that usually lift the goose up are suddenly pushing it down. Geese have been reported whiffling to avoid hawks, to get out of the air so they can hide when hunters are shooting at them, and to get lower in the air when strong winds are blowing them off course.” 

Flying into the storm clouds of a post-pandemic digital era will require, for many, some abrupt adjustments may be necessary to maintain speed and direction. Supporting that dynamism in transformational strategy is a key requirement for IT leaders:

Accelerate application delivery

IT delivery teams today are seeking to scale Agile and DevOps practices across all their environments, from mainframe to cloud to sustain delivery velocity requirements. At the same time, they aspire to combine value stream principles and enterprise scale to make the software factory more intelligent and efficient.

Strengthen cyber resilience

Cybersecurity teams today are focused on strengthening cyber resilience to protect what matters most and detect, respond, and recover from advanced threats. Further ahead, empowered security teams must evolve at the speed of change using security analytics for hybrid environments.

Simplify IT transformation

Operationally, IT leaders are aiming to simplify the complexity of IT operations management, while planning to transform IT into a digital center of excellence.

Analyze in time to act

Today’s mantra centers on unifying analytics without expecting all the data in one place. Longer-term, analytics leaders are aiming to deliver the performance at scale needed for accurate and actionable business insights.

Run and transform – a dynamic digital solution

Employing technology that supports today’s required business velocity, while also being able to underpin rapid, transformational change, will be a critical component of long-term success. Organizations should look to follow the principles laid out in this article, in order to make the most of the technology being employed and maintain their direction when faced with unexpected environmental changes and challenges.

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