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article imageQ&A: To keep up with mergers & acquisitions, automation is key Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 22, 2020 in Business
For industries who have traditionally relied on legacy technology, digital transformation has been a struggle, despite customer demand. When these organizations look to acquisitions as their answer, extra care is needed says Steve Stover.
The world of business is undergoing rapid digital change and at the heart of this are a rise in mergers and acquisitions. As an example, Visa’s $5.3 billion acquisition of Plaid shows how organizations are continuing to acquire and partner with technology companies, in an effort to catch up in modernization.
For businesses reliant upon legacy technology, many such organizations are looking to acquisitions as their answer. For this process, it is important that it’s crucial the IT team is aligned on bringing everyone up to speed, as Steve Stover, VP of Products and Strategy at SolarWinds ITSM, explains to Digital Journal.
Stover emphasizes that leveraging change management tools and automation are two ways IT teams can ease digital transformation during a transition.
Digital Journal: How important is digital transformation for businesses?
Steve Stover: Digital transformation is no longer a question of if but when. The early adopters of technology solutions are already seeing the ROI, and a divide is forming between them and the digital laggers. Even the smallest applications of AI or automation can make a significant difference to an organization’s daily operations. Take the IT help desk for example – using AI to connect employees to self-service solutions on the front end or to connect technicians to one-click resolutions on the back end helps speed up ticket resolutions.
The productivity and efficiency gained from introducing technology solutions to the workplace is too valuable for organizations to pass up, and every company needs to be thinking about the tools they need to keep an edge over their competition. Employees throughout the organization can focus on their daily tasks with less technical interruptions because these innovations allow them to resolve some of their own IT issues rather than waiting on the service desk. Simultaneously, technicians can spend less time resolving repeated ticket requests and IT leaders can spend more time on strategic, bigger picture initiatives for the business.
DJ: To what extent are customers driving the transition to digital?
Stover: Of course customers want a superior digital experience, but sometimes we forget about the internal employees working to serve those customers. Every organization depends on the performance of its customer-facing employees, and in today's environment, those employees rely on their business technology to make their jobs easier and provide a frictionless customer experience. This need for internal digital tools to meet customer expectations puts pressure on the IT service team to ensure technology implemented across the organization runs smoothly. IT teams can leverage modern engagement channels, like mobile applications and live chat, to make it easier for employees to get the support they need quickly throughout the digital transformation process.
Service in real-time has become the new norm and the only way to keep up with this pace of change is to go digital. Companies who fail to digitally transform put themselves at risk of losing customers and employees to competitors or other organizations that are operating at a more advanced level. The organizations that anticipate their customers’ and employees’ needs, identify the solutions that will meet their demands, and adopt an Agile implementation plan will be the leaders in their respective industry.
DJ: Why are bigger businesses struggling with digital transformation projects?
Stover:Large scale, enterprise-wide digital transformation requires a clear and demonstrated ROI, leadership buy-in, stakeholder vetting, and minimal disruption to employees. Think of it like planning a vacation for you and your spouse versus planning a family reunion for 75 extended family members. Big businesses have more employees, more stakeholders, more layers of approval, and a far higher risk of unforeseen impact when they make major changes—especially to business technology. Smaller companies can change, update, and adopt new technology quickly because it's easier to plan for the impact on an office of 30 people than it is for a global workforce of thousands of people.
Digital transformation invites a complex web of technology assets and user data that can be difficult to manage. A smart ITSM solution can enable IT departments to automate and streamline processes, empower self-service, and integrate other business critical tools to unify data and services across the organization. By improving inefficiencies with automation or replacing outdated systems with modern solutions, for example, IT departments can support digital technology throughout the enterprise with a strong digital foundation in its own department.
DJ: How are bigger businesses responding?
Stover:While a digital transformation project might look different to each organization depending on industry and size, across the board we’re seeing IT teams invest in advanced technology to update existing infrastructure and enable business agility—ultimately driving ROI. Whether it’s leveraging smart technology to automate communication between employees and the IT team or the monitoring of IT assets, IT departments have been able to ignite digital change in many large industries.
One notable way larger organizations are adapting to the changing digital landscape is by utilizing a hybrid IT strategy, creating a blend of technology solutions that helps limit or even prevent disruptions to operations. Rather than implementing a one-size-fits-all technology overhaul, organizations can identify high rate of return areas of the business to digitally transform. Whether it’s a mobile app, self-service catalog, central dashboard or other application, different parts of the business can utilize the software that makes the most sense for their unique needs, improving employee productivity and driving digital transformation throughout the organization at large.
DJ: What should IT teams be considering, to meet the challenges?
Stover:As digital transformation inevitably adds to the complexity of the business technology environment, IT needs ways to manage technology services internally. This includes creating streamlined workflows and communication within disciplines of IT, like providing chat and mobile channels for employees who depend on the technology that IT services. A strong ITSM strategy can support those initiatives.
IT teams should also consider how digital transformation initiatives align with larger company goals by identifying productivity gaps and business problems that technology can solve. How would they like to improve the experience for employees? What types of upcoming initiatives will they need to support? Choosing an ITSM solution that can support those needs is one way organizations are building a flexible base to begin digital transformation. By adopting solutions that allow IT teams to save on cost while increasing productivity, companies are understanding the important connection between technology and business and driving the bottom line for the entire organization.
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