Digital transformation is a marathon, not a sprint. Think about all the processes, practices and procedures that you’re uprooting. It could be business models that were in place for decades (or in some instances, centuries) or the systems used by frontline employees. No matter what you do, you’re going to disrupt what people are doing, but you don’t have to do this all at once. Digital transformation test beds give you space to slowly deploy new Power i AS/400 changes without throwing the entire organization into chaos at once.
How to Decide Where to Test Digital Transformations
So where should you start your digital transformation testing? While there’s no one size fits all answer to this question, there are a few areas that are more receptive than others. If you want a group that will go all in and dive right into the new solutions, look for the tech-savvy teams that love working with innovative infrastructure. You may lean on your IT team for this purpose, or look for other teams that are in a position to be hands-on with technology on a regular basis.
They probably have a lot of experience with modern solutions in other areas of their lives, so they have a baseline inclination to want new ways of doing things. They’re happy to try out the latest apps and look to the startup industry for the latest and greatest technology coming down the pipeline.
The next best option is to look for departments that frequently get passed over for software and hardware upgrades. Chances are, they’re lagging well behind the rest of the organization and their productivity is suffering as a result. Leapfrog them ahead of the remainder of the company by starting the digital transformation here. You need to spend more time on the training materials and other parts of your change management plan, as these teams don’t typically see a lot of disruption in the way that they normally do things. Once they get used to the new solutions, you’re going to see their productivity skyrocket.
Starting the Process
Once you select the part of the organization that gets to experiment with digital transformation, you need to formally launch the process. In some cases, this is as simple as opening up access to a new Power i AS/400 integration or as complicated as restructuring the team completely. Try to minimize the disruption as much as possible by deploying the new solutions alongside existing applications or transitioning small portions of the team at a time.
Collecting End-User Feedback
Pay close attention to the feedback you get during the testing and experimentation phases. Whether you’re working with the most tech savvy people in your organization or ones who only know about basic computer functionality, the input that you get at this stage is invaluable for smoothing out the digital transformation when you scale it to include the rest of the organization. Problems that could set you back months if you deployed it to the entire company can be handled easily with smaller scale testing. You work out the kinks in the system and then start bringing in everyone else for a relatively problem-free deployment.
Digital transformation doesn’t have to be a process that throws your entire organization off-track for months or years. Get your test beds ready so you can start out on a small scale.
Written by Grant Sojnocki
Grant Sojnocki, President of Able-One Systems, has extensive experience in executive and leadership roles at innovative technology companies such as IBM, Arrow Electronics, Neopost and Avnet. His positive outlook, passion and creative thinking skills serve him well when it comes to digital transformation, allowing him to deliver high-value solutions to Able-One Systems' clients.