Top Strategic Priorities for IT Leaders while creating Digital Workplaces | HCLTech

Top Strategic Priorities for IT Leaders while creating Digital Workplaces

April 02, 2021
Rakshit Ghura


Rakshit Ghura
Senior Vice President & Global Head - Digital Workplace Services
April 02, 2021

2020 marked an epochal shift in the attitudes toward the notion of work. Until recently, digital tools were only seen as a means to increase productivity. But the sudden freeze in movement across the world, awakened leaders to the reality that digital tools play an equally important role in maintaining productivity. Some of the issues that took center stage while architecting digital workplaces are detailed below:

Optimizing costs efficiently

It is no wonder that cost takeout measures are cited as one of the key reasons behind a digital transformation initiative. Reasonable and prescient measures to reduce costs have enormous benefits for long-term growth.

The onset of the pandemic meant that revenues and margins took a temporary hit across industries, thereby increased cost pressures on IT. A knee-jerk response to this situation was to be aggressive in IT cost reductions, especially to invest in capabilities that would facilitate work in the ‘new normal’. While cost optimization is imperative, it’s important to free up capital efficiently so that investments in critical IT capabilities can be made accordingly. Here’s how costs can be curtailed while ensuring that productivity isn’t dampened:

  • Remote work: A survey conducted by Bain revealed that over 50% of the respondents reported similar or increased levels of productivity with remote work. In addition to reducing the need for office space, remote-working tools have increased productivity when implemented with the right approach.
  • Online collaboration: IT workers require greater physical proximity than most other jobs – a vast potential exists for the adoption of remote-working tools. The usage of online collaboration tools is on an upward trend and serves as an immediate way to reduce costs without impacting the existing flow of work.
  • Automation: Automation is a top candidate for cost reduction, and senior leaders across the world have stepped up investment in AI and automation tools. This does away with low-value, repetitive tasks, thereby enabling the employees to focus on more meaningful tasks and overall increase in efficiency.

Investing for Business Value

Until now, investments in technology were made with the intention of boosting short-term gains and gaining incremental advantages. Such thinking must be eschewed in favour of investment towards unlocking key workplace habits that will translate into a competitive advantage in the long term. Enterprises need to invest in technology solutions that enable remote work, business process automation etc.

Senior leaders must have a good grasp of the digital maturity of their organizations. This will set the baseline for what’s possible and allow the company to be aspirational while being realistic about its limitations.

Most IT companies have been known to underutilize their cloud computing resources. In view of this, senior IT leaders must establish mandates to make the most of cloud-based digital solutions. Digital solutions can reduce overall complexity and do away with the need for specialist resources.

Boosting sales via digital tools is yet another underused tactic that can yield noticeable improvements in revenue. IT leaders must focus on turning their companies into ‘digital attackers’, who are relentless in capitalizing on demand, driving sales expansion, and building a robust customer success function.

Leaders must focus on turning their companies into ‘digital attackers’, who are relentless in capitalizing on demand

Exploring new operating models

As the lines between the virtual and the real start to blur, organizations, as well as IT services providers, find themselves in the unenviable position to rethink their core business models. These are all the more important in a world where omni-channel strategies are poised to rule the roost. Organizations that don’t pivot to a digital strategy that fits within the existing paradigm are likely to lose out.

Any organization that wishes to increase its footprint will have to contend with one of two ways: capturing more market share or create new markets altogether. Both of these approaches require companies to innovate along multiple lines that go beyond incremental fixes and marginal improvements.

Building products and services for the future means that IT leaders will have to conceptualize new value propositions. And hence, they must lead their teams toward identifying underserved markets, pivoting away from existing business models, and inch towards favourable markets.

Such endeavours, especially in IT, would necessitate the usage of technology at almost every step of the way: right from lead mining to customer success. Moving beyond one-time sales models and into subscription-based models will provide customers with value-based differentiation and positively impact the firm’s approach to innovation.

Compassionate change management

There is an increasing need to revamp existing ways of work to ensure business continuity. Senior leaders are in a hurry to overhaul existing workplace practices without considering the psychological ramifications, such measures might have on their remote workforce. Any such changes will have to be communicated in advance and with sufficient care to lighten the cognitive load that inevitably comes with such drastic changes. Company-wide changes in work styles can only be precipitated by a shift in the mindsets, both at the personal and the institutional level.

Digital transformation is no longer a buzzword that is limited to the footnote of an organization’s business priorities. It is a reality that has moved from an aspirational goal to a mandatory one. Organizations that approach their digital strategy meticulously and execute it with precision are going to emerge as frontrunners in their respective domains. They will have the abilities to capitalize on the next wave of digital transformation more effectively than their peers.

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