Change management is key to digital transformation

Neil Davidson is vice president of enterprise at Deltek. He spoke to Infrastructure Intelligence about how firms should respond to the challenge of digital transformation.

What are the key digital issues that infrastructure professionals need to be considering?

Digital transformation is at the forefront of every CEO’s agenda. Our recent Insight to Action report on the future of professional services revealed that 81% of CEOs were unprepared for the risk of disruptive technology, so there is clearly an issue there in terms of firms’ readiness to adopt digital technology.

There are three areas to this. Firstly, there’s a basic understanding that digital transformation is about changing business strategy, it is not simply an IT transformation. This needs to be at the heart of everything. Second, firms need to start with what the client’s needs are. Our survey said 49% of firms were unprepared to meet customer needs, so there must be a better dialogue with customers to find out what their changing needs are for digital services. Because the opportunity is there to respond rapidly and companies need to embrace this. 

Finally, innovation is extremely important. Having the right innovation practices in the business to bring the right services to market at the right time is crucial.

What are clients demanding from the organisations they work with?

Clients are always looking for the best value and the best service and digital is opening up new and enormous possibilities. Clients are demanding different ways of looking at the service they receive and there is a trend away from billing for hours towards a more fixed fee, outcome-based model. Firms are looking at recurring revenue models and clients are looking for certainty of outcome, tight control of costs and making sure the service they receive is ruthlessly efficient on value and delivery.

What does best practice look like?

Firms that have a real, well thought out digital transformation strategy sponsored from the top, by leaders who are communicating this clearly across the business is absolutely imperative for change and delivering it successfully. Firms that are really investing in being best in class will also have a clear focus on project management and efficiency of delivery and costs. A strong change management focus and looking at every angle in which to achieve efficiency will be key.

What are the common challenges facing firms?

There is resistance to change in organisations so change management is becoming the number one skill that businesses need to be good at in a digital world. People read about jobs being lost because of digital, but new jobs will also be created and leadership teams need to bring people with them on the journey, to show that change is happening but it’s a wonderful opportunity to grab that digital future.

What is the role of the CIO in digital transformation

The role is now often called head of digital transformation to reflect that CIOs are now much closer to the business and business strategy. This reinforces the need for change, shows leadership, and it’s essential to drive that change throughout the business. Because digital is an initiative that organisations will start and continually evolve. So, the role is a crucial one. 

How are you working with firms currently?

We are uniquely focussed on the professional services market and consultancy and engineering firms in particular. We partner with our clients to deeply understand their strategy, and help them to deliver the digital backbone of their business. We make sure they understand the cost of delivering to their clients, that they are ruthlessly efficient in the projects they are running and can deliver them with the right risk profile and a high chance of success. 

Using the specialist capability that Deltek brings, we also facilitate innovations around augmented intelligence and staff mobility to ensure firms understand and accurately forecast the workforce they need in three to four months’ time.

Where is the sector headed in the next five years?

There will be huge change, but we don’t yet know the technology that is going to shape that. It’s very much about agility. Infrastructure providers need to establish a business model that can be agile, that can change and respond to a very, very dynamic environment. So, building a company that’s built for change and built to be agile is probably the best insurance policy against the incredible digital disruption that we are seeing and will enable firms to seize immense opportunities.

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email awalker@infrastructure-intelligence.com.