The vast majority of Canadian organizations have yet to cross the digital divide, according to an analyst from IDC Canada. Eighty per cent of organizations are mired in traditional modes and haven’t adopted the tools to transform, said David Senf, vice president of infrastructure solutions at IDC Canada.

At a recent ITWC webinar, Senf warned that lagging behind in the transformation race could have a serious impact on an organization’s ability to compete. “No industry is immune,” he said. “Every industry is being fundamentally reshaped. As organizations and as a nation, we really need to step it up in terms of the level of urgency.”

The rewards for “crossing that chasm” are worth the journey, said Senf. “The value of doing so is much better in terms of revenue growth, customer satisfaction and the ability to deploy services more quickly.”

What’s holding organizations back?

Fear, said Paul Krowchuk , director of cloud and IT solutions at TELUS. “Organizations are afraid of letting go of the traditional stuff,” he said. “It’s what keeps CIOs up at night.”

Hybrid IT enables digital transformation

The fear factor can be addressed by transitioning one step at a time to a hybrid environment, which combines traditional and cloud-based infrastructure.

The first steps are to define goals and assess your workloads, said Krowchuk. “Select things one at a time to move to the cloud where there is minimal risk and maximum benefit,” he explained.

That’s the approach taken by SMS Equipment, one of the the largest Komatsu dealers in the world. Like many organizations, all of the company’s IT equipment was on premises, and it was badly in need of a refresh. SMS decided to “reimagine its IT department,” said Krowchuk.  The company wanted a simpler environment, with lower and more predictable costs that would better support its business goals.  It started by moving its IT service management and enterprise resource management (ERP) to the cloud.

This resulted in immediate improvements in service levels, predictable monthly costs and measurable savings, said Krowchuk.  As well, the company is better able to focus on its business goals. The deployment of a hybrid environment is an invaluable step on the company’s transformation journey, added Krowchuk.

Find a trusted partner

Both Krowchuk and Senf stressed the importance of working with a trusted partner.  The level of engagement required for a successful transformation was a dramatic shift for both SMS and TELUS, said Krowchuk.

“You need a real end-to-end thought process. You have to think about the impact on a business and pick a partner that will do the heavy lifting with you,” he said. For example, when human resources staff at SMS expressed concern about the repurposing of IT jobs, TELUS brought in its own global HR team to help with a change management strategy. “You can’t forget the human element to transformation.”

SMS is planning to move more workloads into the cloud now that it’s more comfortable with how things work, said Krowchuk. “It becomes less of a black hole. They are still in control. It’s just that the hardware, software and break/fix is done by a trusted partner.  They don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

 



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