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IT Transformation: How to Create a Sustainable IT landscape

IT departments are currently facing major challenges such as new market demands, new regulations and an unpredictable economy. The result: overworked employees with ever-lengthening to-do lists, a lack of effective prioritization, an inability to respond quickly to new user requirements and outdated software. So, it's high time for an IT transformation -- because only those companies that consistently implement innovative solutions will be able to keep up with the competition in the long term. Read on to find out what steps you need to take, which technology will support you and what challenges you should expect.  

1. What does IT transformation actually mean?   abstract image of line of computer code with separate strands merging into one block

The term describes the strategic process that is necessary for companies to redesign and optimize their IT infrastructure. This usually involves revising, updating or replacing existing IT systems, applications and processes. The aim is to better adapt to constantly changing business requirements and technology trends to increase the company's performance in the long term. The transformation requires careful planning, the provision of resources and cross-department collaboration. 
 
As companies begin their efforts, they should focus on specific objectives, not broad initiatives as these can add more measurable value and generate the most impact. For example, improving the customer journey, restructuring business processes, or a functional area and its related tasks. By zeroing in on these areas, you can drive successful transformation efforts and achieve business growth. Once objectives are defined, selecting the right technology, considering integration needs, industry-related security requirements, the number of users and the amount of storage necessary are the next important steps. 

2. Why is IT transformation important?   

IT transformation is essential for companies to:  
 
  • Maintain future viability and scalability: A modern IT infrastructure forms the basis for growth and innovation. As a result, companies are better equipped to meet the challenges of digital change.   
  • Improve efficiency and productivity: By modernizing IT systems and processes, workflows can be automated, accelerated and optimized, then employees can focus on more mission-critical tasks. 
  • Promote innovation and a competitive advantage: A modern IT environment paves the way for innovative technologies such as big data and AI and thus forms the basis for the development of new products, services and business models. 
  • Improve security and data protection: IT transformation ensures up-to-date standards and effective protection against cyberthreats. 
  • Achieve cost savings: Costs are reduced through greater efficiency, consolidation of systems and reduced cost hardware thanks to cloud-based solutions.  

3. What challenges can arise?  

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There can be bumps along the way. When they occur, it's important to recognize them early and develop appropriate solution strategies.   
 
  • Resistance to change and fear of new technology, processes and working methods. The solution: Training and open, transparent communication. 
  • Complex integration of new technologies into existing systems. The solution: Technology with robust integration capabilities, careful planning and the use of middleware or integration platforms. 
  • Security risks. The solution: Advanced security measures and close attention to compliance. 
  • Budget and resource constraints. The solution: Secure the necessary budget ahead of time and bring specialists on board. Prepare a cost analysis, ROI predictions or a savings forecast that can enable you to justify the expense.  

4. Which technologies do you need?  

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Technology and tools that are usually part of digital transformation include:  
 
  • Cloud computing: The use of cloud services enables companies to flexibly scale IT resources, keep infrastructure costs in check and increase their agility.   
  • Virtualization and containerization: These technologies allow physical hardware to be used more efficiently by running multiple virtual machines or containers on a single server. This facilitates scalability and improves resource utilization.  
  • DevOps practices: DevOps encourages close collaboration between software development and operational IT teams across the entire software application lifecycle - from development and initial testing to deployment and operation. 
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML): These technologies can be used to gain valuable insight from large amounts of data and make automated decisions. They are used in various applications and systems. These include document management, customer relationship management and the optimization of business processes. 
  • Cybersecurity: In the face of increasing threats from cyberattacks, advanced security solutions such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), encryption and endpoint security solutions are of great importance. 
  • Workflow automation: Automating repetitive tasks and processes helps to reduce errors, increase efficiency and enforce business rules without human intervention. 

How do you ensure success? 

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1. Involve the executive level at the start

It is crucial to ensure their support and active involvement. Company management should communicate the vision and importance of the transformation and provide the necessary resources.  

2. Define clear goals and priorities  

Start by setting clear, measurable goals. Identify the most important areas that need to be optimized and prioritize accordingly. Then establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to enable you to monitor your progress. 

3. Evaluate your existing IT infrastructure  

A detailed analysis of the current IT systems, applications, processes and resources is essential to understand the specific requirements and weaknesses.  

4. Develop a digital transformation roadmap  

Based on this assessment, create a detailed digital transformation plan. This should make sure that the roadmap improves their access to data, provides the tools they need to do their jobs and automates many routine tasks.  

5. Go step-by-step   

In many cases, it is advisable to carry out the transformation step by step in order to identify and address potential problems at an early stage. Constant monitoring and appropriate reporting are helpful here.  

6. Prioritize data security and compliance  

Implement robust security measures to protect sensitive data and ensure that the transformation complies with applicable legal requirements.  

7. Engage your employees  

Hand-on training of all employees who will use the software can ensure acceptance of new technologies and processes and reduce anxiety. You should include project leads in the training process and encourage them to become advocates of change. 

8. Ask for feedback and encourage continuous improvement  

Get regular feedback from employees and customers and adapt your transformation strategy accordingly. This will help you remain flexible and better able to respond to changing requirements. The technology adoption process no longer flows in a straight line. Now it’s a process loop that involves on-going evaluation, testing and training to enable continuous improvement. 
 
Don’t wait for a crisis to spur you into action. Be future ready. IT transformation is a decisive factor for a company’s long-term success and competitiveness. It enables them to adapt quickly to new technology and business requirements and take full advantage of the digital world. 
 
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