Miroslav is the co-author of ITIL 4 Practice Service Desk and Request management. He has previously held various positions in itSMF Slovensko. He is currently the CEO of OMNICOM which focuses on consultation and education of services related to digital transformation.
We asked him several questions ranging from digital transformations, typical misunderstandings to pitfalls and mistakes companies do on their digital journey.
You are in touch with many different companies. How do they generally perceive the importance of digital transformation?
It really depends on the current maturity of their digital services. But the current situation caused by coronavirus forced many organizations to focus on digital transformation. It is also necessary to mention, that each organization has a different view of what that digital transformation entitles. Our work is also to clarify those expectations. Some of them believe that it is simply to start using some fancy tool, without changes in their current processes or organizational setup.
Can you outline what a digital transformation means for you? How do you define it?
I prefer the following definition: “Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers. It simply means to change the way of working and delivering services with usage of digital technology.
You mentioned COVID19 pandemy. Has the importance of digital transformation changed now?
There has been a short quiz; who is leading the digital transformation in your organization:
A: CEO, B: CIO, C: COVID19. Guess, which one won. Of course, it is the fact that many organizations must change their business because of COVID19. We can see it in the number of users of various tools which support the digital way of working, as Zoom or MS Teams.
The digitalization of company communication and remote work tools are sort of obvious themes. Do you observe any trends in processes or service automation efforts / in other areas?
Process automation is the key in digital transformation. It requires also an ability to quickly adapt to the circumstances and react with a fast development of new features. Therefore, I see a heavy focus on the automation in the whole development to operation value stream. This topic is called DevOps. I also see a strong focus on user service requests automation, digital accounting and sales processes. For example, real estate agencies are now organizing virtual tours through the property with 3D technology.
What are the usual mistakes companies make when starting their digitalization journey?
They start using some fancy tool, without changing their current processes or organizational setup.This approach is justified by the belief that the new tool solves all problems. These companies have no or a very small focus on the process and on the people aspect of the transformation.
Can you elaborate more on this?
Well, digital transformation is not only about digital technology. It is about transforming the business with the usage of digital technology. Therefore, it is necessary to focus the transformation on existing business processes and the people aspects of the change. The digital technology enables companies to change the whole approach according to a specific business process. For example if you ask the bank for a mortgage. In the past the approval took a few days and required many documents to be brought to the bank. Now, thanks to the direct access of the few registers and smart decision logic, the bank system can provide automatic approval in a few seconds. Only exceptions are solved manually through the bank risk manager.
What are the challenges caused by multi-vendor environment in case of companies running or living a digital transformation? (Or do they even recognize that they are creating complex solutions based on many vendors?)
They are very different and dependable on the maturity of the company. But their common challenge is to speed up and automate many different interactions with their vendors. Therefore, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of all vendors’ services and how they participate in creating value of the company’s services. To put it simply, to have a good service catalog.
What does a good service catalogue contains? Is there any particular piece of advice or information on usage you would recommend? And in which stage does the digital effort comes in?
Service Catalogue is just the tool. It really depends on the purpose of the catalogue. If you use it as a sales tool, of course you need information related to price and cost. If you want to manage multiple vendors participating on the delivery, then you need to know the components of service and the relations between services and components.
And, if you want to start with digital transformation, the catalogue of your current digital services is essential.
What do you see as an essential recommendation for companies on their digital transformation journey from the SIAM perspective?
To have a clear understanding of vendors and services. What and how do they deliver? How each of the vendor’s output is being processed by the organization. What is the need or impact of the outcomes? Even it is a minor output like a paper invoice or report. So you need this sort of map and an understanding of the current situation. Only then, you can think about prioritizing, where to start with the digitization effort, what to focus on, and what can wait.