Successful Digital Transformations Are Based on Meeting the Needs of Three Top Stakeholders

Visibility helps ensure those expectations are met.

Successful Digital Transformations Based on meeting the needs of Three Top Stakeholders

Recently, we’ve highlighted the importance of a three-phased, six-step cloud strategy to achieve successful migrations. While tailored specifically to application cloud migration projects, the process is a solid roadmap to follow for any digital transformation project.

The following steps, slightly modified for digital transformations in general, provide a workflow for meeting the objectives of these projects:

  • Assess current performance, response times, and user experience
  • Identify current use, capacity requirements, and dependencies
  • Develop deployment and implementation plans
  • Execute the migration or transition to plan
  • Monitor the new deployment for user experience and quality performance
  • Optimize the environment for performance, bandwidth, and capacity needs going forward

Expectations of Three Major Stakeholders

There are multiple stakeholders involved, and/or impacted, by digital transformations and migrations.

  • Senior management: CIOs, CTOs, and vice presidents of IT that fund the projects
  • Employees: All those who depend on the location or application involved in the project or transformation
  • IT organization: The team responsible for selection, implementation, and ongoing management

The same goal exists for all three stakeholders: a successful, seamless implementation on schedule and budget. Their reasons for success, however, differ slightly.

Senior management is critically interested in the on-budget and on-schedule part of the implementation. The more expensive and involved the digital transformation or migration is, the more oversight and scrutiny will understandably come from senior staff. Additionally, the goals established by senior leadership in funding these efforts will be part of the expectations and evaluation. For instance, one organization recently decided to migrate to a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) from multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), with senior management aiming to reduce WAN costs. It was stipulated, however, that management expected that the savings did not come at the expense of quality user experience at the distributed remote offices.

Employee and user expectations are simple and consistent. They want the most painless transition from old platforms to new—whatever the project migration might involve. In the case of the SD-WAN project, there was really nothing the employees needed to learn or do as part of it. What could impact them, however, was any delay that might be inserted into their transactions with the new WAN service. Their expectations were that performance would be equal to what they were used to—perhaps even better, but certainly no worse. In a recent situation, the migration of a refactored legacy ERP application to the cloud impacted a bar code label printing and reading function used by employees at distribution centers. Following employee retraining, the expectation was that the performance of the new application, hosted in the cloud, would be of equally good quality as the legacy version.

The IT organization as a stakeholder also has expectations. Surveys on the topic report that most IT organizations spend around 80 percent of their staff resources and budget simply to support the infrastructure and apps already in place. This is often called “keeping the lights on.” When IT teams have the opportunity to spend time on new digital transformations, they are exposed to the latest technologies and benefit from learning how to implement and operate them, which gives them new skills. Their expectations for the new project or migration are to deliver a quality solution on cutover day that performs as expected by the users within the budget and schedule guidelines of their management.

Key to Meeting the Expectations: Visibility

Meeting these expectations can sometimes appear as a significant challenge for everyone involved. Consider a few questions that arise:

  • How do we know if performance and user experience are maintained between the old service and the new service?
  • How can we best create and execute a successful deployment plan and execution?
  • What are the utilization, peaks, and valleys for this service today so we can ensure appropriate capacity and/or bandwidth is available?

Organizations implementing performance and user experience monitoring for visibility throughout the digital transformation or migration project gain much-needed intelligence to evaluate details that can answer those questions as well as help achieve success in meeting the expectations of the three stakeholder communities.

Visibility into performance and user experience metrics before and after transition can definitively show any differences that need to be addressed by IT. For example, in the case of the organization migrating from MPLS to SD-WAN, IT shared reports proving that the new service was meeting performance expectations.

In other cases, such as when visibility showed application performance was not the same, additional metrics helped to not only pinpoint the root cause of the problem but also to use in collaborating with third-party vendors to rectify the issue.

To learn more about the value of visibility, consider how one organization proved its new project met senior management’s expectations and how in another situation, where the project fell short of employee expectations, IT collaborated with the cloud vendor to resolve the problem.