A digital business transformation is arguably the most difficult endeavor any organization is likely to embark on. Each initiative invariably touches multiple business functions that historically have tended to operate in isolation from one another. IT leaders often find themselves trying to navigate competing agendas within their organization that directly conflict with one another. Rarely do multiple lines of business ascribe the same level of priority to any given project. IT organizations themselves are often divorced from the business processes they support. Bridging the divide between IT and the business has been a perennial issue inside most organizations now for decades.
Because of those issues, many organizations are turning to consulting firms to gain an outside perspective. Most systems integrators now have more than a few of these types of projects under their belt. Most of them have now even developed something approaching a digital transformation framework, a systematic approach to transforming a business that addresses both processes and the IT platforms that support them.
It’s possible for most organizations to transform a single process on their own. But transforming a business on an end-to-end basis requires an ability to absorb a rate of change that invariably will encounter organizational resistance. Overcoming that inertia requires a plan. In fact, too many organizations still tend to invest in new and emerging technologies before they have that plan in place. That can be a fatal flaw when it comes to digital business transformation.
“Before you have the right technology in place, you need to have the right processes in place,” says Chip Childers, CTO for the Cloud Foundry Foundation, which oversees development of the open source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.
As part of that plan, organizations will need to determine what technologies drive functions that differentiate the business, adds Childers. Every company may be a software company in the digital age. But that doesn’t mean they should continue to manage their own email systems when they need to free up resources to develop applications, says Childers.
Naturally, every IT consulting company is fighting tooth and nail to become the preferred partner of organizations as they make the transition to becoming a truly digital business. The value of those services will vary greatly depending on the digital maturity of the organization consuming them. But leading providers of digital transformation consulting services include the following.
Leading Digital Transformation Consulting Companies
Accenture: There is no formal digital transformation framework. Digital transformation engagements are led by Accenture Digital, an arm of the consulting firm dedicated to digital business transformation projects. Accenture in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) also developed a Digital Transformation Initiative (DTI) framework to drive what it describes as the fourth industrial revolution.
Atos: The Atos Digital Transformation Factory is a practice that focuses on customer intimacy, business efficiency, business models and trust. From a technology perspective, Atos as part of this practice provides blueprints for building orchestrated hybrid clouds, real-time business processes, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), and mobile computing applications. Atos also has complementary digital payments and cybersecurity practices.
Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation: The Cognizant Digital Transformation Framework is based on a Code Halos methodology that Cognizant crafted through which code becomes attached to every business action. That methodology then tells organizations how to maximize digital business value at the points where all the code interacts.
Deloitte: A Deloitte Digital arm of the venerable consulting firm focuses specifically on digital business transformation. That arm of the consulting firm has launched a Build Your Digital DNA initiative through which it helps organizations operating in a wide range of vertical industries to define a digital business strategy to address what it describes as next-generation Industry 4.0 opportunities.
DXC Technology: Formed via the merger of Computer Sciences Corp (CSC) and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services, the consulting firm has crafted a DXC Technology Framework for Innovation and Transformation (FIT), based on a library of over 300 finance and administration (F&A) processes, best practices, and benchmark data it has collected. Those key performance indicators (KPIs) are then employed to assess the digital maturity of the organization as well as define improvement and change levers to drive transformation.
EY: Formerly known as Ernst & Young, the business consulting and information technology services provider has launched EY wavespace, a series of physical locations distributed around the globe where business and IT leaders can learn how an EY wavespace digital transformation framework enables them to leverage disruptive technologies that include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics process automation (RPA), blockchain, data analytics, digital and cyber security.
HCL: The Digital and Analytics division of HCL has developed a Digital Technology Footprint framework spanning a comprehensive services framework that combines cross-functional services, competencies, tools, technologies, partnerships and talent from across all of HCL. It includes both program and project management services that include expertise in business value reporting and organizational change management.
IBM: Based on a Design Thinking methodology to problem solving, an IBM Digital Reinvention framework focuses on how to develop revenue streams and markets, engage better with customers, employees and partners, and develop orchestrated ecosystems along with the digital business talent required to run them. A series of Envision workshops helps organizations identify their most high-value digital business opportunities using AI platform such as IBM Watson.
Infosys: Based on agile development principles, the Infosys Digital Navigation Framework promises to take a holistic approach to digital transformation by fashioning a new user experience for a prototype to modernize the entire core of business. Those services are anchored around a global set of Infosys Technology and Innovation Hubs that leverage application developers based primarily in India.
KPMG International: The business and IT consulting firm has built a digital transformation practice based on a 9 Levers of Value framework it employs across all its engagements. The goal is to not only identify digital opportunities, but also determine their feasibility and risk versus the rewards of a potential outcome, including distinguishing between the need to balance short-term wins against long-term goals.
McKinsey & Co: The world renowned providers of business strategy consulting services has defined an S-Curve framework primarily designed to help C-level executives understand how digital transformation will impact their organizations. The goal is to accelerate the rate of transformation using a defined set of methods for reengineering business processes.
NTT Data Services: A 5-R Methodology (recognize, rethink, render, reorganize and realize) is the basis of the NTT Data Services approach to digital transformation. The NTT Data Services initiative specifically addresses what business challenges should be addressed, potential competitive threats, changes to business processes required, what digital initiative to prioritize, and how to ensure a return on investment (ROI).
PwC: A BXT (business, experience, technology) framework developed by PwC Digital Services promises to help organizations break down the walls between silos in their organization that inhibit digital transformation. From a technology perspective, the BXT framework employs emerging technologies such as robotics, AI and cloud platforms to connect organizations with their customers in more efficient and profitable ways.
Wipro: The Designit unit of Wipro works with the rest of the IT services provider to provide consulting service specifically around design, user experience (UX), interaction design (IxD) and product innovation to create a digital experience. The goal is to provide a human-centered method around innovative technology solutions delivered by multi-disciplinary teams of strategists, designers and engineers.
Remember the IT Factor
Obviously, there’s no shortage of business and consulting firms that have created a digital business transformation practice. Line-of-business executives tend to be the most enthusiastic sources of funding of digital transformation projects, and many of these projects are occurring with a minimal amount of involvement from the internal IT organization. A recent 2018 Deloitte Global CIO Survey found that 44 percent of CIOs are not involved in these projects at all. That’s often a recipe for disaster. It may seem like doing an end run around internal IT organizations may be the path of least resistance to digital business transformation. But if organizations want those transformations to stick at scale, there needs to be buy-in from the IT organization.
In fact, one of the best ways to differentiate one digital transformation framework from another is to take a hard look at how much those frameworks rely on the participation of the internal IT organization to succeed.