Digital transformation applications (Article 3)

What business applications offer significant benefits when implementing digital transformation? This article explores those application opportunities.

The previous article in this series described systems and data issues that digital transformation can resolve or reduce. You can read it at this link.

Identifying digital transformation opportunities

Often, low-cost, low-risk digital transformation opportunities that deliver immediate benefits exist among the software packages you use. You can identify the immediate opportunities by asking these questions:

  1. Where are we using Excel that another software package should replace? This replacement will provide more robust functionality.
  2. Where are we closing gaps between applications with Excel? This gap is better closed with integration software.
  3. Which software packages are we using that are not as well integrated as they could be? These software packages are candidates for improved integration and data sharing.
  4. Which software packages are we licensing but not using widely or not using much of? These software packages are candidates for decommissioning.

Answering these questions typically identifies digital transformation opportunities that are:

  1. Modest in scope.
  2. Low risk and low cost to implement and operate.
  3. Significant in terms of business value.

Common digital transformation opportunities

Digital transformation offers companies opportunities to:

  1. Eradicate the remaining paper-based, manual business processes to provide a comprehensive view of the company’s data.
  2. Integrate IT systems to allow a cross-functional view of the company’s activities that significantly reduces departmental silos and encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration.
  3. Support seamless employee and partner collaboration with digital workspaces for process improvements and sharing knowledge, trends, and intelligence.
  4. Implement electronic connectivity with important trading partners to improve supply chain effectiveness.
  5. Boost data quality to enable predictive data analytics that supports data-driven decision-making and reduces the risk of making poor decisions based on misleading data.
  6. Enhance data management practices to extract more value from company data.
  7. Modernize aging IT systems with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings to achieve more comprehensive digital support for company business processes.

This list of opportunities should trigger thoughts about some digital transformation projects you could undertake at your company to improve business processes and reduce rework.

Digital transformation applications

Cross-functional digital transformation applications can solve various data and application problems that create frustrations at the enterprise level. Examples of these applications that advance digital transformation include:

  1. Enterprise search creates the illusion of enterprise-wide application integration across structured and unstructured data. Enterprise search makes it easy to access all your data, especially data that used to be hard to find.
  2. Knowledgebase captures, curates, and retains corporate intellectual knowledge and experience for easy access by everyone. Knowledgebase avoids repeating the mistakes of the past.
  3. Machine learning applications are advanced pattern-matching applications that can identify issues and opportunities hidden deep in your data. These insights are often not recognized by companies.
  4. Master data management ensures the uniformity, accuracy, and semantic consistency of the enterprise’s shared master data assets. It manages the origin and versioning of data. It identifies and highlights high-quality, high-confidence data that helps companies use and report only a single source of truth.
  5. Metadata management is the administration of data that describes business data. It ensures data definition consistency so that terminology variations don’t cause data retrieval problems.
  6. Predictive maintenance applications minimize unscheduled outages and reduce elapsed times for repairs.
  7. Supply chain applications minimize project and operational slowdowns due to missing components.

Implementing one or more of these digital transformation applications will produce more value from your data and move the company along the data-driven decision-making path.

The next article will describe current and future technologies that enable digital transformation.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Yogi Schulz
Yogi Schulz
Yogi Schulz has over 40 years of Information Technology experience in various industries. Yogi works extensively in the petroleum industry to select and implement financial, production revenue accounting, land & contracts, and geotechnical systems. He manages projects that arise from changes in business requirements, from the need to leverage technology opportunities and from mergers. His specialties include IT strategy, web strategy, and systems project management.

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