In Forrester Research’s ‘Predictions 2018’, the firm reported that more than 60 percent of executives believe they are lagging behind in their digital transformations. Earlier studies by Forrester found that most businesses are actively developing digital capabilities, but have not yet achieved ‘digital mastery’.
A scarcity of digital skills is one of the contributing factors, according to Forrester. The firm also notes that evolving technology means digital transformation is more than a one-time investment. To maintain momentum and achieve successful digital transformation, Forrester recommends partnering with third-party solution providers.
Essential Services and Support
Forrester’s research indicated that more than 80 percent of respondents had used a third-party vendor for at least one of their digital transformation initiatives. On average, respondents used vendors for three or four elements of their transformation.
Businesses work with vendors at a number of different levels in the transformation process. In some cases, they look for strategic advice to help senior executives formulate their strategies and leverage the latest digital technologies. But, the more popular rationale for partnering is operational.
Vendors have specialist skills and resources that may not be available internally. For example, firms like VTG have highly developed skills in infrastructure assessment, automation and migration — skills that are key to digital transformation.
Supplement Internal Resources
Working with partners therefore reduces the burden on internal staff and accelerates transformation. Businesses recognize that specialists can complete essential transformation tasks faster and at lower cost than internal teams. They also believe that specialist vendors have greater expertise and can reduce risk in a transformation project.
Although vendors typically provide individual transformation services and point solutions, Forrester believes that vendors should aim at a wider, end-to-end relationship with businesses.
Currently, most services are provided on a time and materials basis, rather than a relationship based on shared risk and reward. Forrester found that around 46 percent of companies employed vendors as full-service partners.
Develop Strategic Relationships
Vendors that have developed a more strategic relationship invest time in understanding their clients’ business goals, as well as their operational needs. They provide advice and project management skills in addition to operational resources to ensure success at each stage of the transformation.
More important, specialist vendors keep their knowledge of the latest technologies up to date. They train their staff and liaise with their own technology partners to understand and leverage emerging technologies. That way, they can ensure clients benefit from technology evolution to strengthen their competitive advantage. Clients’ internal teams may also benefit from skills and knowledge transfer, adding further momentum to transformation projects.
Ready for Transformation
Working with specialist partners helps to reassure businesses that are unsure if they have the right resources in place to deliver a successful digital transformation. Forrester found that only a minority of their survey respondents completely agreed that their organizations were ready for transformation.
That could be critical because one of Forrester’s recent findings in ‘Predictions 2018’ was that 20 percent of CEOs will fail to act on digital transformation and put their firms at risk.
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