Digital Transformation Goes Beyond Quick Fixes
With hybrid work models gaining traction, Chris Marsh, principal research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, discusses how companies are looking forward to the next phase of digital transformation.
With hybrid work models gaining traction for the long haul, middle-market businesses are reevaluating their technology solutions to support employees and strengthen team culture, regardless of work style. Chris Marsh, principal research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, discusses how companies are approaching this watershed moment and looking forward to the next phase of digital transformation.
Q. Tell us about the technology challenges the shift to remote work has uncovered.
The last 18 months have caused technology decision-makers—both IT teams and tech buyers within lines of business—to rethink their long-term technology strategies. Companies today need to enable a more diverse set of working styles and preferences than ever before. Minor adjustments won’t be enough.
According to our data, 50% of organizations have only scattered or siloed knowledge of management strategies.
Principal Research Analyst, S&P Global Market Intelligence
When companies were forced to transition to remote work due to COVID, it became clear that face-time in many cases was a Band-Aid. According to our data, 50% of organizations have only scattered or siloed knowledge of management strategies. Without in-person interaction, it became clear how poorly information flowed across teams and how little strategic thought had gone into knowledge management and daily workflows.
These are cultural issues, but they’re also technology issues. Application sprawl was a big problem even pre-pandemic, but remote work has brought this issue into stark relief. Thirty percent of employees say they have too many applications to get work done effectively. Pre-pandemic, many technology buyers prioritized addressing functional problems with best-in-breed apps. Now, the focus is more on being strategic about how the tools fit together, what the main set of applications is and how the company can get more out of them.
Q. What kinds of tools are seeing increased adoption?
According to our research, the top three employee technology challenges are information management, automation and organization. Companies are increasing their spend on many workplace technologies, particularly video conferencing tools, remote work equipment, and team messaging and collaboration tools. Many businesses are looking for no-code project management tools that enable employees to create their own workflows. Formerly niche tools like digital whiteboarding apps are seeing a real bump in popularity as companies try to replicate the nuances of in-person collaboration in a hybrid work model.
Q. How can company leaders support technologists?
This is a big cultural shift and it’s important for leaders to recognize that and step up to support it. Rather than looking at technology strategies as functional challenges, start with the idea of pulling your workforce together. Look at what drives individual engagement, team building, alignment and general operational agility, then work backward to see which technology solutions drive those things. Ultimately, technologists are looking for a vision and strategy around how their workforce should operate and how to align teams. We recommend focusing first on the three A’s: agility, autonomy and alignment. Greater operational agility is at the heart of digital transformation, both internal and customer facing. Employee autonomy—to create workflows, own project design, find new ways to collaborate and more—is in turn crucial to empowering teams to be agile. Finally, this autonomy needs to be balanced by alignment to strategy, governance, security and compliance, and across work execution.