The shift to remote working brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to speed up their digital transformation efforts.

Digital transformation integrates digital tech into all areas of a business, changing how companies operate and deliver value. It involves a change in culture that requires companies to challenge the status quo and experiment with their IT infrastructure.

According to a new survey by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), both managers and employees believe that digital transformation has helped counter the effects of the pandemic and will assist businesses in recovery once the crisis is over. BCG surveyed 5,250 managers and employees in France, Germany, the UK, the US, and China. Based on the survey, many managers and employees think that the pace at which their companies are transitioning to digital could be faster. Both managers and employees are not sure how digital transformation will affect them personally when it comes to their jobs, career, and pay.

A full 89 percent of managers feel involved in their company's digital transformation, while only 65 percent of employees feel that way. At the same time, around 80 percent of both managers and employees want to participate in digital transformation. A majority of respondents said more investment is needed to support remote work, client relationships, internal processes, and marketing. Most believe that digital transformation will improve their company's efficiency, work organization, and decision making.

Moving to the Cloud

A significant component of digital transformation is moving on-premise legacy systems to the cloud. The cloud provides several benefits that traditional networks don't: minimal or no on-premise server maintenance, faster deployment times, and less infrastructure complexity.

Piecing together solutions to securely transfer internal files across different cloud platforms creates a strain on any company, making integration nearly impossible and workflows challenging to manage. Management consulting firm McKinsey recommends that companies do three things to reap the most value from cloud migration as a component of their digital transformation:

  • Focus investments on business domains where cloud can enable increased revenues and improved margins.
  • Select a technology and sourcing model that aligns with business strategy and risk constraints.
  • Develop and implement an operating model that is oriented around the cloud.

According to the McKinsey research, "The recent COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the need for companies to adopt digital business models. Only cloud platforms can provide the required agility, scalability, and innovative capabilities required for this transition." 

The integration of cloud-based apps is key to maximizing the benefits of cloud deployment for digital transformation. These apps often form the backbone of the digitally enabled enterprise: Office 365, Google Workspace, Slack, Salesforce, ServiceNow, to name a few. Integrating cloud-based apps will give the user the best experience and provide the company best return on investment.

Companies will need to ensure that the rapid movement to the cloud in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is secure and integrated with other systems. This need for integration is especially true for companies using a hybrid cloud model, which combines on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and public cloud.

According to a survey by IDG, 64 percent of organizations that have completed their initial IT modernization initiatives have switched from an all-private or all-public cloud strategy to a hybrid cloud approach. More than two-thirds of respondents said the primary reason for moving to hybrid cloud was the unexpected cloud costs, such as data egress charges, unintended oversubscription, unanticipated demand, and workloads not optimized for the cloud.

Companies adopting a hybrid cloud model for their digital transformation will need tools to manage both on-premises and cloud environments. These tools include access controls, identity lifecycle management, and privileged access management (PAM).  

Automation and Digital Transformation

In addition to cloud computing, automation and digital transformation can help companies in the uncertain environment of the post-COVID-19 era. The more business processes and the movement of data through systems can be automated, the cleaner the data will be, and the more streamlined the systems are going to run.

One promising area for organizations is robotic process automation (RPA). RPA uses software bots to automate tedious rules-based business processes, enabling employees to devote more time to higher-value work.  RPA bots can mimic most human-computer interactions to carry out error-free tasks at high volume and speed.

Many organizations believe they can transform their business processes, achieving higher speed and accuracy by automating decisions with an expected average payback period of 15 months, a Deloitte survey of 523 executives found. Organizations are continuing to use RPA and are moving beyond it by increasing deployment of intelligent automation. More than half of respondents had already started their automation journey.

RPA tools enable organizations to take manual repetitive tasks and train a bot to do those tasks. The bots that can integrate with application programming interfaces (APIs) will work better. Also, the more systems are moved to the cloud, the better the RPA will work. APIs and RPA bots will need access, which needs to be managed through PAM. With APIs, their "secrets" and keys can be secured using PAM. With the bots, they can be assigned specific rights and secure access they need.

Identity Solutions and Digital Transformation

Digital transformation’s benefits far outweigh the costs. These benefits include attracting the best talent, increasing employee productivity and satisfaction, and using the best communication tools.

Identity Solutions can integrate cloud-based applications with the rest of your IT infrastructure and help with identity and access management in a hybrid cloud environment. We can ensure that your RPA bots get the secure access they need to free up your employees for higher-value work.

The bottom line is that Identity Solutions can work with you to ensure you get the most benefit with the least cost in your digital transformation journey. Our recent e-book dives into the implementation possible to improve your organization’s health. By downloading the e-book Implementing Identity Strategy: Improve the Health of Your Organization, you will learn how to improve the health of your business and the efficacy of your employees at the same time, thus implementing one of the best lines of defense against both internal and external threats.

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