Digital transformation is not about transforming the business, but rather the services that a business delivers – and balancing cost, risk and speed is essential to win in the digital transformation race.
This is according to Chris Livesey, senior vice president and general manager at pure-play software firm Micro Focus, who presented the company's approach to digital transformation at the 2nd annual Experience Micro Focus Universe 2019 hosted in Johannesburg today.
Micro Focus underlines the value of bridging the old and the new, with the 'new normal of IT being about balance.'
The company focuses on technology to support four key objectives or goals related to digital transformation, including speed, agility, security and insight.
Livesey said digital transformation has been around for many years and is underlined by a 'race' to by businesses to be digitally transformed.
He referenced research by Gartner which states that 50% of CEOs said their businesses will be digitally transformed by 2020.
"That's for months away, good luck with that, if you're not already there. There is a huge amount of focus and intensity around digital transformation, it's a big race around being digitally transformed," said Livesey.
He added that the enterprise software industry has perpetuated the idea that 'anything old is bad and must be replaced, while anything new is good.
"The software industry has made an enormous amount of money from conning the world that you need to be doing something new. It has made trillions of dollars in revenue over the last 30 years through this pageant that tells you that everything your doing is old equals bad and everything you need to be doing is new equals good. That's what everybody tells you... that's what the media and analysts say... they'll tell you that if you're stuck in the past, you can't exist in the future. I don't buy that at all."
Livesey believes there is value in those years of investment in business process, in data, in the understanding of customer behaviour and customer transactions. "What we fancifully call AI or machine learning...that's been there for 30 years, it's up to you if you want to go and leverage it."
But why do so many high profile digital transformation projects fail? Livesey referenced research by Harvard Business, released in March 2018, which puts failure down to , among other reasons, '"not hard-wired into business strategy and key processes..." and executives spending too much time on the new, while ignoring the rest.
He said it is important to understand the value of existing infrastructure to the business and how best to extend that value.