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Mary Ludloff
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May 07, 2019

5 Digital Transformation Challenges Facing IT Departments

A growing number of businesses are investing in digital transformation to become more agile, cost-effective and profitable. A recent study, for example, found that B2B spending on technologies like connected devices and mobile apps will exceed $250B by 2025. 

The path to digital transformation, however, is not always a smooth one. And for IT departments in particular, the process can be a big undertaking. Not only do they have to manage their regular workloads, IT departments also need to train other employees on how to use the new tools effectively and safely.

But the difficulties don’t stop there. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five greatest obstacles IT departments face as they move digital transformation initiatives forward.

AppSheet_IT Challenges

1. Limited budgets

Digital transformation doesn’t always come cheap; IT departments often get pushback about the costs associated with rolling out new solutions.

Let’s imagine a company has decided to build a custom mobile app. That’s great and all, but hiring developers comes at a high price. The average salary of a full-time software engineer is $103,000, according to Glassdoor.

If your company wants to build a custom web application, it could cost between $90,000 and $241,000, with eight developers working full-time on the project, a recent study suggests.

With the right approach, however, it’s possible to get started down the path of digital transformation without breaking the bank. No-code app platforms, for example, are helping thousands of companies save money by enabling everyday employees—also known as citizen developers—to create custom apps for their businesses, without any prior coding knowledge and for a fraction of the price.

2. Employee pushback

If your workforce consists of millennials—also known as digital natives—you’ll probably receive less pushback. Digital solutions are often a perfectly natural fit for a younger workforce.

On the other hand, if your business is in manufacturing, construction or energy—where baby boomers represent a significant percentage of the workforce—you may have a learning curve to deal with. Oftentimes, older workers who have been using paper management systems for decades do not want to use mobile technologies in the field.

This shouldn’t stop your digital transformation efforts, though. It may take some effort, and a willingness to change, but sooner or later most employees will come around and see the benefits of using new technologies. One way that you can help ease the transition is to create a training program where tech-savvy employees show others how to use your new technologies. Not only will this help facilitate the learning process, it can also double a great team-building experience, strengthening employee bonds.

3. Fear 

Many employees are understandably concerned that new technologies and automated systems will make their jobs obsolete.

To overcome this fear, remind employees that the adoption of new technology is essential for business survival and also helps employees learn new skills.

The goal of implementing digital technologies, after all, is to remove repetitive tasks from everyday work, such as manually filling out paper forms, time cards, and spreadsheets, among other things. This is a big deal, since a recent study found that 90% of employees are burdened with mundane tasks that could easily be automated to save companies an average of 19 working days per year, per employee.

4. Security

While digital transformation delivers a ton of upside to organizations, it also comes with risks. For starters, it can dramatically increase the chances that your IT department experiences a data breach—something that’s already happened to 53% of small- to medium-sized businesses, according to Cisco.

The cost of a data breach might also be larger than you’d expect. The Cisco study also revealed that more than 50% of cyber attacks result in financial losses of over $500,000, including lost revenue and missed customer opportunities.

The good news is that you can protect your company from these risks by selecting only the most secure, and well-respected solution providers. If you have the budget, you can also consider hiring a full-time cyber security specialist (which 59% of power and utilities CEOs view as the most important new role in their organizations).

You should also encourage your IT department to lead training programs that educate your employees about cyber security risks and how to identify ransomware attacks so they are always aware about potential security issues.

5. Communication

Digital transformation can have a big impact on an organization. Even something as seemingly small as an app can affect security, finance, production, management, and more.

To this end, communication is the cornerstone of successful digital transformation initiatives. In fact, digital transformation often fails when teams bring new solutions and processes into place without communicating with one another.

To avoid complications and prevent projects from getting shut down midway through completion, it’s important for key decision makers to discuss objectives and solidify project roles and responsibilities prior to launching an initiative.

Choose the path that’s right for your business

While the path to digital transformation is not always smooth, with the right approach, your IT department can motivate employees to use new tools while minimizing security risks.

If building apps is a part of your team’s digital to-do list, check out this page that outlines how AppSheet keeps data secure while enabling businesses to build custom apps for a fraction of the cost—and in much less time than hiring an outside firm.

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