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Organizational Silos Top Offender to Digital Transformation

January 23, 2017

A successful digital transformation will result in a hyper-connected, “well-oiled-machine” known as the modern enterprise. With its effects felt across the landscape of industry, most are already all systems go in regard to entering the digital era, but unfortunately a fair amount of firms are lagging behind. In the most recent Transforming Network Infrastructure Community Poll, we asked, “What is the biggest obstacle to digital transformation in your organization?” and I have a funny feeling the results are quite relatable.

Our last poll results I brought into question; this month, however, in my opinion is spot on. We know that, while leadership structures are evolving, getting leadership on board with digital transformation is not typically the largest hurdle. Our poll reflects this, with only 8 percent of respondents placing blame on a lack of leadership buy-in. The issues really start popping up once one begins to dig beneath the network surface and get into the technology weeds, if you will.

The next two highest vote getters were legacy systems and evaluating new technology. Each option received nearly 17 percent support from poll

respondents, and each option presents its own set of issues and hoops that require jumping through. For starters, legacy systems are rigid,

Image via BigStock

expensive and inefficient, but removing one entirely can prove quite costly. From loss of knowledge workers, to data disappearing; company concerns toward a “rip-and-replace” or an incremental replacement approach are justifiable. Years of band-aiding a systems often provide a false sense of security in one’s network deployment, and can result in a far inadequate system and a desperate need for network modernization.

Evaluating new technology is important; you wouldn’t simply go into a clothing store and purchase something without seeing how it fits. For larger organizations, evaluation takes place in ancillary part of the network, but for smaller organizations, this is a luxury many cannot afford. From a risk standpoint, these firms on the smaller side can’t afford the time and cost of a failed deployment, so many exist in a wait and see posture. This is a measure twice, cut once situation—there is no room for a poor choice.

This leads me to the largest perceived (and in my mind, actual) obstacle to digital transformation: organizational silos. With nearly 60 percent of respondents citing this as the largest hurdle, silos start at the top. Companies create silos; each department is tasked with certain tasks, and with heads to the grindstone, complete the checklist and move on to the next project. Digital transformation turns this notion on its head, as virtually all company data can be valuable, and in utilizing a collaborative approach productivity and efficiency are maximized.

In addition, breaking down silos is integral to any digital transformation initiative as it enables agility. Starting from the operations level, processes need nurturing in a more collaborative and open direction.    

Digital Transformation is taking all of industry by storm. This theme will remain a carrot at the end of many corporate sticks, as the question is more of a when than if. If you are now or have experienced any of the above hurdles, we welcome your input. We in the community would love to hear your tale of digital transformation.

Don’t forget to participate in this month’s poll “What do you predict will drive the most networking changes in 2017?” and join the conversation. We take a collaborative approach here in the Transforming Network Infrastructure Community – welcome to our paradigm of digital transformation.

Edited by Alicia Young

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