Digital Transformation Steps: The Role Of Providers

Insights From Two ISG Experts

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Steven Lerner

digital transformation steps

Solution providers are among the most critical partners for an enterprise undergoing digital transformation. The right provider can be a catalyst for change and success. Selecting the right provider is also one of the most consequential digital transformation steps in the journey.

A recent report by Information Services Group (ISG) sheds more light on this important process. According to the report, companies need vendors to help them become more flexible, collaborative and adaptable to constantly changing business conditions. The report also noted different buyer behaviors, or archetypes, that are based specifically on their maturity in the digital transformation journey.

“We have identified the very traditional clients, who transform only as absolutely necessary due to their legacy and business-as-usual environments,” writes Jan Erik Aase, Director and Global Head of ISG Provider Lens, and Kenn Walters, Analyst at ISG. “We also identified four additional maturity levels of transformation. These involve leveraging the cloud and SaaS, including PaaS. The top two levels ISG calls Digital Natives and Disruptor Embracers – Explorers. Their business as usual is a fully digitally transformed enterprise.”

Considerations For A Productive Digital Transformation

Before selecting a vendor for a digital transformation initiative, it is imperative that IT leaders work closely with the business executives to ensure that the solutions fit the needs of the enterprise.

“In the end, CIOs must ensure that each solution set meets the business and customer needs and preferences, while being fully supported by stable technology and processes – this is true irrespective of the archetype or combination of archetypes,” writes Aase and Walters.

As ISG notes, it is important that sponsorship and agreement from the C-suite is attained. This is especially critical for the digital transformation roadmap, a key component on the journey for enterprise-wide changes.

“A roadmap must be constructed with phased releases planned in the traditional manner, as well as allowance for unplanned changes that are required by customers or business conditions,” writes Aase and Walters. “The roadmap should also consider customer-side users and testing pilot groups for solutions, as well as rapid prototyping and continuous delivery models. It must be regularly reviewed as a living document and be in a form that all levels of the business can understand.”

The roadmap should also detail the role of providers within the digital transformation steps. This includes having the providers in separate aspects of the roadmap or grouped together, depending on the pricing models and the flexibility of the solutions.

“Often, a best-of-breed approach for specific solutions from a larger number of suppliers, or a large-scale supplier that supplies solutions from a head-of-contract role will be required,” writes Aase and Walters. “No one size will fit all enterprises, and enough time must be reserved to perform evaluations and supplier selection processes during the digital transformation journey.”

How To Select The Right Providers

As part of its report, ISG offered some advice for choosing the right providers for digital transformation:

Clear portfolio offering and consultative approach

Seek out providers who have unique solutions and a consultative approach. They should be able to map out their abilities to deliver upon those needs, and the provider should demonstrate a clear understanding of the enterprise’s industry.

Plan for innovation and transformation

Digital transformation on a large scale should be treated as a proof of concept or pilot before being scaled out to include new functionalities.

Embrace the enterprise-wide change

The changes from the digital transformation steps can be felt throughout the entire enterprise. It’s not an IT department exercise, and it will impact every department and function throughout an organization.

Providers should go beyond just the general technology and solution

The days of a one-size fits all delivery and functional model are over. Providers should deliver the right model for specific industries, and it should also be flexible based on the size of the company.