Organizations must avoid building the “Frankenstein monster” during digital transformation.
Mat Rule, CEO and Founder of Toca, discusses the need for proper technology integration when it comes to digital transformation initiatives
Digital transformation is essential for organizations to survive in an increasingly competitive business landscape. However, embracing cutting-edge technology in the name of digital transformation can be futile if not properly integrated into existing systems. No one knows this better than Walkers – last year the food maker faced a supply disruption after an IT upgrade. Production was halted for more than a week as supermarkets struggled to source the popular crisps that typically line their shelves.
Getting caught up in exciting new technologies and forgetting to consider the implications for existing systems can lead to major issues that grab headlines and prevent customers from accessing services – or in the case of Walkers, buying their favorite snack. Embarking on an IT project that will transform your business is all well and good, but integration must be the basis of digital change.
IT as Frankenstein’s Monster
According to McKinsey, two out of three major technology programs go over budget, miss deadlines and don’t fully meet business requirements. This leads many organizations to be reluctant to take on large-scale IT projects, with integration also being a major source of fear. Take the telecom industry for example, where 70% of operators said integration with existing technology is their biggest barrier to digital transformation.
Poor business integration isn’t the sole responsibility of IT and CIOs. Often, technology teams are given vague goals, an organization has limited change management capabilities, or there are too many requests for technology customization. Previous IT projects that failed or ones that drastically changed in scope from what was originally envisioned have left organizations with IT environments that resemble Frankenstein’s monster. Features have been tightened up over the years, with their managers leaving the company and leaving IT managers unsure of their system’s interdependencies or even how it will work. The IT stack has also grown in complexity with each corporate merger or acquisition.
The fast pace of today’s digital economy demands that organizations continue their digital transformation. It is not viable for them to stop their plans for fear of poor integration with existing systems leading to IT failure. Competitors certainly won’t hold back, so organizations must find a way to integrate new technologies, applications, and data quickly, without creating long-term business problems. Integration should be seen not only as the foundation for change, but also, when done well, as the formula for success.
Change does not necessarily mean revision
Typically, companies have embarked on large, monolithic projects that are time consuming and highly complex. Adopting a smaller, more agile approach can help increase their ability to deliver change and growth in a safe and risk-free way. To achieve this, enterprises must turn to a no-code approach to application development. Instead of deleting reliable legacy systems that have worked for decades for the next “big thing”, organizations can integrate new applications into day-to-day processes.
A no-code application development approach can be embedded across the enterprise to enable control of any system, shaping of any data, and automation of any process, while providing building blocks that can be reused to solve a variety of business problems. This helps address the integration challenge, as systems can be connected without being tampered with, helping to significantly reduce risk during transformation. Integration has traditionally been the responsibility of developers, who must connect legacy systems, modern applications, and APIs. In this way, a no-code app development approach can also accelerate innovation, as developers’ time will be freed up to focus on building new functionality that serves the business.
Enable continuous transformation
Organizations that fail to adapt to the era of fast-paced business will fall short of competitors, customer expectations, and business demands. Although integration is a major concern when it comes to digital transformation, it shouldn’t be a barrier. Integrating data, new apps, and technologies can be simple and immediately effective with a no-code app development approach. By adopting a more agile approach to innovation, organizations can create a steady stream of new applications that integrate seamlessly with existing systems to streamline business processes and reduce the risk and cost of change.