Digital transformation: Why we need new levels of collaboration and co-creation

Responding to and thriving in a digitally transformed landscape requires new levels of collaboration. For businesses to succeed by maximising the opportunities offered by new technologies, they need IT service providers who treat them as partners, rather than simply clients. 

The reason for this is that the full value of new technologies and working practices can only be realised when an IT service provider delivers carefully tailored solutions that respond to the unique business challenges and implements these with a view to building for the future.  

Let’s explore what this relationship looks like in practice, including new ways of working and the technologies businesses will be able to realise most value from. 

Strategic solutions for the future  

Shaping the strategic approach to new technologies is key to the deeper, more collaborative relationship between businesses and IT service providers.  

Of course, providers might well still help with the standard development of applications, maintenance services and support, but they should also play a role in shaping the ongoing business approach to new technologies, including AI, chatbotsblockchain and machine learning.  

Only a deep relationship with a trusted partner can enable IT service providers to understand how and why these technologies should be incorporated into a business strategy and then act as consultants during the entire process, from understanding the end customer need, to developing the required application or process to meet that need – and then supporting this on an ongoing basis. 

This consultative approach requires more than simply implementing the requested project, but instead needs the IT service provider to fully understand the business, whether the requested technologies will deliver the anticipated returns and identifying the best and most efficient way to realise business goals via any implementation. 

Building agile teams to achieve business goals 

This truly collaborative approach also enables IT service providers to build bespoke, agile teams focused on achieving business goals.  

As genuine partners, the IT service provider is able to ensure that the partnership isn’t just innovation for innovation’s sake but that there is a robust, tailored business case and a dedicated team created for precise goals.  

A true partnership means not simply using ‘ready-made’ squads. Instead, in a true collaboration, and by gaining a deep understanding of the context of a challenge, it’s possible to create a multidisciplinary team with the skills required to create a solution that is entirely adaptable to an individual organisation and its unique challenges. 

Seizing the power of automation  

Gartner recently named hyperautomation as one of its top strategic tech trends for 2020 and the technology to drive this is certainly in place – including AI, machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) – but deeply collaborative relationships remain crucial to realising the full benefits.  

It requires deep understanding and analysis of an organisation’s existing ways of working to implement automation so that it swiftly drives increased revenue and customer satisfaction, offering a competitive advantage while reducing churn.  

This was very much the case for Stefanini when we worked closely with one of the world’s largest manufacturers of film for the food and pharmaceutical industry. We were able to identify that multiple partners using different templates for invoices was creating a significant amount of repetitive manual work. Because we had this insight, we were able to vastly improve efficiency using an AI-based information extractor, which was integrated with an attended robot completing data entry in SAP.  

This kind of robotic process automation can deliver an 80 per cent reduction in processing time and costs, with HR, supply chain, IT services and finance all areas of a business that are ripe for automation.  

Achieving these results requires deep collaboration, with a strategy devised to prioritize processes based on calculating the complexity level and automation potential and mapping the business benefits against these.  

Harnessing blockchain 

While blockchain will define winners and losers in the years ahead, many businesses are yet to deliver real-world applications of the technology. Recent research from Gartner found that only 19 per cent of executives believed blockchain was very important for their businesses, with just nine per cent having invested in it. 

The answer here again is deep collaboration – IT service providers demonstrating a level of understanding of the businesses they support so that they can deliver more than just immediate solutions but can also lay the groundwork for the future. Blockchain is a perfect example of a technology where the capabilities need to be integrated into organisations – even if there isn’t an immediate use case – because of how quickly things will move as it reaches maturity.  

It’s through elevating relationships to the next level, where solutions are co-created, that businesses can harness new levels of value through new technologies and more sophisticated ways of working – both now and in the future.