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Digital transformation includes understanding technology as a foundation for its success.

In this Digital Transformation series, we previously learned the five essentials for a successful digital transformation. In this article, we’ll dive into understanding the technology behind it.

The word technology covers a broad spectrum of things. For the purpose of this article, we will define technology as the hardware infrastructure and software. Both of these types of technologies need the appropriate skill sets to succeed.

The Power of Technology 

Technology has propelled digital transformation for many years now. In the past decade, digital strategy and digital transformation has been a much talked about topic in all business verticals. Many businesses are compelled to do their digital transformation due to increasing customer expectations and market influences.

The first step in understanding the technology behind digital transformation is to understand the power of technology. Technology has the power to fundamentally change the way you run your business.

Technology can significantly improve your customer experience, employee satisfaction, revenues and overall business prospect by reducing your manual effort, friction points, redundancies and more.

The Good News About Cloud Technology 

Not that long ago, an organization that wants to invest in technology had to build or buy a datacenter, rent a colocation facility or hire a hosting service. Once the facility is procured, they have to buy the hardware including servers, storage, compute, networking, power, etc. On top of the hardware, install operating systems, databases, firewalls, information security, etc. Once all that is done, develop the business applications that will eventually help your business use case.

If you are getting tired reading all that, there is more to this, but I will spare you the pain.

Today, all this can be obtained by the click of a button and a credit card in the cloud. Obviously, I am over simplifying this, but you get the point. Many companies are still navigating the new normal and trying to migrate to cloud technology, but it is here. Cloud technology can make your digital transformation much easier.

Cloud technology can make your digital transformation seamless while keeping your technology expenses at an optimal level.

Technical Debt

Almost every business that uses technology has technical debt. Conceptually the older your systems are, the higher your technical debt will be. While this is not an optimal situation for any business, upgrading technology and keeping your technical debt low is an ongoing effort.

Each organization should be thinking of the caring and feeding of technology. You should be thinking about where the expenses are, how old the technology is and how often they are being upgraded.

Your technology strategy and roadmap should be refreshed annually. This will enable you to have a comprehensive view of your technical expenses, thereby keeping your technical debt low.

Technical Skill Set

You need the right skill sets to run your business and for your digital transformation.

Many organizations have been challenged with upskilling their in-house staff while also running the business. It is important to have a strategy for workforce management, specifically the technical workforce and their skillsets. Upskilling your workforce is a part of technology strategy. Many organizations hire consultants or contractors to fill the gap in skill sets. Others also go into an outcome based managed services agreements.

Your organization should have an owner of your digital technology. This technology owner will be the custodian of your technology strategy and roadmap. Ideally, the technology owner will be the head of technology and part of your executive leadership team, directly reporting to the chief executive officer and the board.

The bottom line is, you need the right technology skill sets at all levels to keep propelling your digital transformation.

Technology Investments

Investments in technology is just like investing in your facilities. It needs continuous maintenance, upgrades, renovations and new development.

Based upon the business requirement and market availability, you may build or buy your technology. The marketshift is towards more buying than building of technology. This is because of the technology products available in the marketplace due to the rapid growth of cloud technology.

Many companies are moving towards buying cloud-based and ‘software as a service’ products. These companies are investing in integrations using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which is the glue behind the internet and mobile technologies.

Technology investments should be approached as capital investments that will enable your digital transformation, thereby enhancing your business growth significantly. This will position you for greater growth, market acquisitions, customer satisfaction, employee retention and revenues.

In Conclusion: Technology is a deep and wide topic. As a business user, I hope this article gave you some starting points to understand the technology behind digital transformation.

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Siva Balu

Siva Balu is the vice president and chief information officer at YMCA of the USA. In this role, he is working to rethink the work of Y-USA’s information technology strategy to meet the changing needs of Y-USA and YMCAs throughout the country. Siva is the creator of the new Y Cloud digital platform to deliver digital, virtual and mobile products to members across the nation. Y Cloud is the world's first digital platform built for non-profits by non-profit. Read Siva's full bio.  

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