Don’t waste a good crisis: 6 real-life lessons in digital transformation

A crisis might be just what you need to kick start your digital transformation.

For Mircom, a Canadian-based manufacturer and distributor of smart building solutions, a 2019 email security incident led to a highly successful company transformation, completed within a few months.

“Every problem is an opportunity,” said Jason Falbo, Mircom’s Chief Technology Officer, at a recent ITWC webinar. “It made us take a hard look at what we needed to do to modernize with a hybrid cloud architecture to meet the needs of our company and our security position.”

Mircom’s speedy transformation paid quick dividends. The company earned its highest revenue ever in the quarter following the project. “It was from efficiency gains and the excitement it generated,” said Falbo. “People know they have all the tools to get in the market and win.”

How Mircom modernized in months

The biggest hurdle was to decide which platforms to migrate to the cloud, said Falbo.  Mircom started by moving its active directory, including Microsoft Exhange, to protect against future email security issues. The next step was to transfer its corporate services, like ERP, to the cloud. As well, the Office 365 suite of products was rolled out to give employees in offices around the world better access to data.

The company spent a lot of time mapping its equipment to determine what should be retired or renewed. To improve security, it added two-factor authentication and services to monitor uptime and login activity.

“We moved from a legacy office environment to an online environment,” said Falbo.  This provided better tools for employees and reduced maintenance time for IT.

Tips to put your digital transformation on the fast track

Falbo offered the following tips for success based on the lessons learned during Mircom’s transformation:

  • Don’t waste a good crisis. Mircom had been developing transformation plans, but the funding was advanced after the security incident. “We had all the ingredients in the fridge. We just needed to bake the cake, said Falbo.
  • Clear direction and communications from the top are critical. To ensure visibility on technical requests by employees, the company adopted a ticketing system to track and display progress.
  • Know what you don’t know. Leverage partners to gain technical resources and expertise. Falbo said it was helpful to “keep relationships warm”, so that when they were ready to move forward, they knew who to call.
  • Digital transformation shines a light on IT. IT is an equal partner in the business success of the company.
  • Build in security from day one and don’t try to bolt it on later. “Security is not a check list,” said Brad Evans, a Cloud Strategist with Dell Technologies. “It’s an ongoing practice. It’s not about the latest patch.”
  • A cultural strategy is essential. “Digital transformation goes beyond technology,” said Falbo. “Human nature is to resist change. So, how do you get a revolution going?”  To do that, Mircom found leaders in each part of the company to share what it was doing. “It’s a great time for people to show they’re invested and want to perform and grow.”

Overall, Falbo says that Mircom’s digital transformation was “one of the most exciting projects in ten years. The fact that we solved our own problems also helps us to solve them for our customers. We now package it as a secret sauce for clients.”

View “Case Study: Fast Tracking Digital Transformation” on demand

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.

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