What is Digital Transformation? A Quick Intro to Digital Transformation

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You need an approach to digital transformation that balances competing priorities

As opposed to maintaining mission-critical systems where you need certainty and a predictable plan, creating innovative applications with unclear requirements demands agility to test new approaches. Your digital transformation strategy must clearly segment your applications by the problems they address, their rate of change, and the distinctiveness of the business capabilities they facilitate.

Executing a digital transformation strategy is more than just buying new technology

Digital Transformation Diagram - Innovate, Differentiate, Modernize, Maintain

According to Gartner, 68% of top performing companies say they have Bimodal IT vs. 17% for trailing performers.

You need a roadmap to digitally transform your enterprise in a scalable, thoughtful way. Your teams have to build new, innovative apps quickly, but without risking core business operations. To do this, you need to rethink your approach to application development.

Gartner created the concept of Bimodal IT to help enterprises address this challenge. Mode 1 recognizes that there are areas of your enterprise that have certainty, clear objectives and a predictable plan. Mode 2 recognizes that in other areas of your enterprise, requirements are unclear, changing, and less understood at the start. Bimodal isn’t an either/or proposition – both modes need to coexist. But to accomplish faster development with control, you need the right platform and architectural principles to support your Processes, People, and Portfolio, with a Bimodal approach at its core.

Become a digital enterprise with our Digital Execution Roadmap

Standing up a successful Bimodal capability within your organization is a complex task, so we applied the best practices from more than 600 customers to build a 3-step roadmap to reduce your execution risk.

Start

Start small.
Celebrate success.

Seeing is believing, so deliver your first app within 30 days by leveraging a cloud platform, and start your digital transformation off right. Demonstrate how true Business & IT collaboration can unleash innovation with a Mode-2 approach.

BLOG: Why Celebrating Success is a Crucial Element of Digital Transformation

Structuring Your Digital Transformation Strategy

Build a digital transformation framework to accelerate innovation

Use the experience from your first project to create a more structured approach to grow your Mode 2 application portfolio. Establish the right architecture and principles for re-use, component-based development, application of design patterns and QA. Establish an Innovation Team, identify training needs and a sourcing strategy, so you can on-board the right talent quickly to create more applications.

BLOG: How to Structure Mendix Teams for Optimal Results

Scale Digital Transformation

Replicate success throughout your enterprise

Improve governance on multiple levels with better portfolio management, continuous integration and component-based architecture. Align Mode 1 and 2 projects properly, transferring Mode 2 initiatives that scaled rapidly upon success to Mode 1 operations. Build an Innovation Center of Excellence that guides and supports large scale distributed development.

BLOG: A Digital Transformation Framework: Start-Structure-Scale

You need a proven methodology to execute successfully

Your business needs four capabilities to successfully implement a digital innovation program from Start to Scale. We call them the 4 Ps.

Portfolio

Portfolio

Your portfolio will be the pipeline of your highest-value innovation projects that require a faster development approach. Outline project stages, success criteria and budget guidelines to methodically develop ideas and measure progress.

Develop a process across your Business and IT teams so the prioritization of projects happens collaboratively and continuously.

People

People

You need to identify the people to build a Center of Excellence to deliver your innovation projects, and train this cross-functional team of business- and tech-savvy talent to collaborate with speed.

BLOG: How to Organize Your First Mode 2 Team to Accelerate Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation Process Chart

Process

Your innovation team needs to establish a process for rapid development so they’re releasing new functionality and iterating continually based on user feedback. You will have to implement modern DevOps practices to build the deployment agility required to continuously iterate and release at scale. You’ll also need to craft a governance framework so you maintain control of your Mode-2 application landscape, but allow your innovation teams to create hundreds of apps at speed.

Digital Transformation Platform

Platform

Lastly, you will need to adopt a modern, low-code, cloud-native platform architecture that eliminates constraints associated with legacy systems, and integrates quickly with your existing applications. Your Platform must allow you to bring your People and Process together, to unleash Collaboration and Speed, while maintaining Control to develop a Portfolio of apps that drives your Digital Transformation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is digital transformation?

    Digital transformation is the ongoing process of leveraging digital technologies to transform and improve business performance by creating operational efficiency, enhancing customer engagement, and developing innovative products or new business models. Digital transformation is a multifaceted effort that also involves not only a platform (technology) but people, process, and an application portfolio, too.

  • Why do companies need to digitally transform? Why is digital transformation important?

    With 70% of companies either having a digital transformation strategy in place or working on one, it’s clear that digital transformation is no longer just a buzzword but a necessity for companies that want to lead the industry and be revered by its customers and employees. In an age where disruption is a norm, companies are increasingly creating digital transformation strategies that will help them build innovative applications that meet customer expectations, improve internal business operations, and stay competitive.

  • How does low-code support digital transformation?

    Whether it’s building or refining solutions that enhance customer engagement, resolving operational inefficiencies, or driving new business, software applications are the key value-delivery mechanisms for an organization’s digital transformation initiative. Long planning and application delivery cycles no longer support today’s business needs and expectations. This problem is further exacerbated by shortage of skilled resources and lack of collaboration between business and IT.
    With a visual development approach, low-code is transforming the way companies build, deploy, and manage mobile and web applications to meet their digital transformation objectives. In fact, according to Gartner, “By 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.” Learn how you can use a low-code platform like Mendix to execute your digital transformation plan.

  • Which industries does digital transformation apply to? Who is digital transformation for?

    Companies of all sizes across industries like manufacturing, finance, insurance, logistics, education, and the public sector are implementing digital transformation strategies. Every business wants to remain profitable and build processes and products that employees and consumers love. To do this, they’re investing in digital technologies like low-code to meet their digital transformation goals.

  • What are the effects of digital transformation?

    When done right, digital transformation can add significant value to the company, including improved internal processes and employee productivity, superior customer experience, innovative products that disrupt the market (think Airbnb, Tesla, Google, etc.). For instance, a leading insurance company used low-code to implement its digital strategy by developing a portfolio of successful applications – from policy administration systems to customer portals, to an app that turns a selfie into a life insurance quote – to drive massive value to business in record time.

  • Why does digital transformation fail?

    Change is hard, especially when it’s at the organizational level. According to McKinsey, less than 30% of companies succeed in digital transformation. Some of the common reasons why digital transformation fails include a lack of company vision, IT and business operating as silos with minimal communication, failure to assign digital initiative owner s, and failing to empower people to work in new ways. Here are some tips to avoid digital transformation challenges.

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