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Phil Russell
January 08, 2020

Roadblocks to Avoid in Digital Transformation

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No matter what industry you work in, getting people on board for big changes is difficult. When workers are used to a certain way of completing a task, it can feel like you're turning their world upside down when you implement a new process into the mix. There are a number of challenges that are involved with any digital transformation of a business whether they are vast or small changes. We've identified a few scenarios that you may encounter in your endeavor to improve your workflow through digital means:

1. Support for your digital transformation dreams

Challenge: Drumming up support for digital transformation can be difficult — especially in a large, multi-division utility company that is also highly regulated.

Workaround: Get the C-suite on board. Digital transformation tends to be a top-down initiative,  often starting with the CIOs and CEOs. Twenty-eight percent of CIOs own or sponsor digital transformation initiatives, while 23 percent of CEOs do so as well. If you can articulate the value that a digital transformation can have on a company to the higher-ups, it will be a lot easier to get them on board. Remember, some key benefits of this switch are cost reduction, more flexibility while increasing the amount of options that are available for workers and management, and more security for assets and workers.

2. Finding new talent

Challenge: According to McKinsey, utilities tend to be perceived as analog-era companies. This makes it hard for them to attract digital-economy professionals like data scientists.

Workaround: Don’t focus on hiring data scientists or engineers. Go the no-code route. A no-code platform like AppSheet comes with machine learning baked into its engine, enabling citizen developers—the people who are closest to the data—to leverage powerful machine learning tools and build transformative applications. Put another way, one way to cut costs while not compromising vision is to use no-code. No-code allows you to create your own applications that are specific to your individual needs as long as you have the data to input into our system.

3. Adopting new technologies

Challenge: McKinsey also points out that utilities tend to have complex legacy operations and IT environments. These environments tend to inhibit quick innovation.

Workaround: Migrate away from legacy systems when it makes sense, in favor of agile, software-defined alternatives. Often, when a company has been around for a while, processes continue to be used that are out-dated and inefficient. Don't allow your company to live in stasis. While it definitely is scary to make a big change in your company, often updating systems cuts costs and increases productivity if implemented in a calm and collected manner.

4. Developing a plan

Challenge: Utility companies often launch pilot projects, only to have them fail—wasting time, and resources while creating doubt about the value of digital transformation in the process.

Workaround: Proceed with caution. Don’t rush into digital transformation. Drum up support for digital change, form a technology task force, and visit with different department leaders to discover common challenges and investigate digital solutions to them. You wouldn't jump into a body of water before knowing how deep it is right? Same goes with implementing advanced technological systems. It's important to not rush through this work. If you set up things correctly, taking into account possible problems, you will have a solid system that will last a long time and grow with your business.


Of course, these aren't all of the potential challenges that one might face when implementing digital transformation, but we think it is a good place to jump start your thinking when it comes to presenting these ideas to others in your company. No-code provides powerful software for you to combat problems in your company in ways that you see fit. We hope that you'll consider jumping on this train because it is barreling through the industry fast and missing out will cause a lot of headaches down the line.

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