How can IT leaders overcome digital transformation hesitancy?

Running a proof of concept may mean it takes longer to get DX projects firing, but it will give the business a lot more confidence to see them through.
18 May 2020

Proof of concept helps businesses assess risks and the viability of projects. Source: Shutterstock

  • UK companies lose an average of US$2.4 million a year due to delayed digital transformation projects
  • Proof of concept tests the feasibility of an idea
  • Up to 34 percent are concerned of the time needed for PoC to be developed 

Digital transformation projects are usually delayed because of a ‘hesitancy gap’.

Companies face a variety of issues, such as struggling to cope with the complexities of multi-cloud technologies, and those risk-averse tendencies can hold them back from seeing these ambitious projects through. 

That assertion comes Global Data Centers’ Mind the Hesitancy Gap report. According to a survey of 200 IT decision makers from large UK enterprises with more than 1,000 employees, more than a quarter (26 percent) said their IT teams can spend too long in laying the groundwork for digital transformation projects, which could translate to close to US$2.4 million per year lost per company.

Collectively, businesses are keen to invest in emerging technologies. The report indicated that 63 percent of the respondents are investing in artificial intelligence (AI), 58 percent are investing in Internet of Things (IoT), and 51 percent are investing in software-defined networks.

Despite the enthusiasm for digital transformation projects, about half of digital transformation projects face lengthy delays in actually being implemented due to the multitude of obstacles, and the challenge of managing it among the daily pressures. 

Cloud services and technologies prove to be the most challenging, as 35 percent said these complexities were a major hurdle. Another 35 percent said the limited access to skills needed to monitor and run projects involving emerging tech (AI and blockchain) has impeded these technologies from taking off in the business. 

A proof of concept for DX

Proof of concept, by definition, is the process of determining the feasibility of an idea – it allows companies to explore the potential of a plan and whether it will yield the envisioned outcome

Proof of concepts, then, could serve as a means to facilitate the development of transformation projects with confidence before deploying them at full scale. Companies can spot potential technical and logistical issues early on, enabling IT teams to identify and address potential hurdles early on and readjust digital transformation plans before full-scale deployment.

Business undertaking proof of concepts could embark on their strategies with more confidence and awareness of risks and pain-points, and an idea already of how to overcome them. This approach would also help in securing investment from stakeholders, managers and investors, as risks will be more calculated and potential challenges more clear.

Of course, preparing in this way adds additional time and resource to digital transformation plans – 34 percent of those in the report were concerned with the time needed to design and construct a simulation to trial projects. 

The difficulty in accessing the necessary technologies, infrastructure, connectivity, partnerships, and skill sets to run proof of concepts for a digital transformation project was also highlighted. IT heads were encouraged to foster a collaborative environment in which service providers, enterprises, and startups can work together and exchange ideas. 

Perhaps, an open ecosystem with the dissemination of information and ideas is key to closing the ‘hesitancy’ gap of many digital transformation projects. 

Besides that, proof of concept will help companies minimize risks and save in terms of costs and valuable resources as it tests the viability of a project. The process could then be expedited as a result, with a better ability to execute efficiently and overcome trials. 

The report warns however that while proof of concepts will be valuable, it is not an absolute guarantee that the results exhibited by a trial project will be the ultimate outcome.

Instead, having the right talent and resources at hand is still the core to success with digital transformation projects. Instead, proof of concepts help to secure the confidence that a digital transformation project is worth pursuing.