The 3 most common approaches to digital transformation — and where they fail

The right integration platform can underpin digitally transforming processes while simultaneously addressing the fundamental flaws that need to be addressed for project success.

Anna Birdsall Anna Birdsall

Most corporate decision-makers agree that digital transformation will be essential to meet the challenges of the future – and to meet strategic growth goals. Given that digital transformation is a process of continuous refinement and improvement, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that guarantees success.  

As digital transformation disciplines crystallize, three common approaches have emerged. However, each has its own fundamental flaw that needs to be addressed for project success. This is what you need to know:

1. The approach: Businesses are tackling new business models but … The flaw: Your new tech doesn’t play well with your old tech

New technology offers a myriad of opportunities to develop new ways of working, efficiencies, and services. Unsurprisingly, businesses are tackling agile new business models with flexible APIs, microservices, events and big data.  

So what’s the problem? Legacy software and home-grown systems tend to be inflexible, preventing businesses from fully embracing the agility offered by digitally transformed operations. Developing de-centralized in-house solutions that marry old and new technologies slows overall progress and limits the ability to realize all the benefits of digital transformation.

2. The approach: Businesses are in the midst of multi-year cloud migration projects but … The flaw: In the short term, it’s making things much more complicated

Any enterprise-grade migration can take years to complete, so it is no surprise that many cloud migration projects have multi-year timelines. Despite acceptance that the elasticity of the cloud assists with agile operations, the migration process will always take time to complete. 

The flaw in this approach is that without the right technologies to unify local and remote data and systems, the business simply recreates many of the silos they are trying to dismantle because some operations remain self-hosted, and others are operating from the cloud.

3. The approach: Businesses are cobbling together solutions based on what they have so … The flaw: they aren’t getting the agility they expected

Sometimes it’s easier to continue building what you have started, or work with what you already have. We have all been there. But agility is often sacrificed when you’re forced to depend on tools developed in house, or a conglomeration of 3rd party solutions that have been cobbled together, instead of one platform. 

Multiple tools add unforeseen complexity to integration initiatives and increase costs, limit visibility, scalability and flexibility, increase maintenance and support needs, and pose security and compliance risks. These systems work, but they don’t work well enough.

From flawed to flawless

The flaws documented here are not “fatal”, but they can significantly impact the effectiveness of a digital transformation strategy. All three issues boil down to a single common factor – impaired visibility and information flow, which have consequences that can significantly affect your time to market, and ultimately your bottom line. 

Similarly, there is a single solution to all three flaws – to use the right integration platform to underpin digitally transforming processes. Choosing a multi-function integration platform as a service (iPaaS) will: 

  • Centralize management of APIs, microservices, events and data in a way that is organized and secure. Importantly, using a single tool will also help to simplify and accelerate information sharing and transfer for strategic data-driven operations, and allow businesses to monitor and manage their integrations from a single platform.  
  • Provide tools capable of managing systems regardless of location, offering a way to operate safely, seamlessly and effectively in a hybrid cloud model while undergoing an extended migration project. 
  • Reduce the number of tools used for integration, observability, compliance and data transfer. While the do-it-yourself approach increases complexity and administrative overheads, a unified platform simplifies connectivity, accelerates delivery of new products and services, reduces the cost of maintenance and support, and scales as your business grows. 

To learn more about the critical role of integration platforms in your digital transformation strategy (and how to avoid the three flaws above), take a look at our whitepaper Why a multi-function iPaaS is the future of APIs.