In this article

Companies that have successfully navigated digital transformation initiatives are thriving in today's complex business landscape and have even brighter growth prospects moving forward. 

For those on the outside looking in, it might seem like these organizations stumbled into a winning strategy or created magic out of thin air. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Transformations take an incredible amount of strategic planning and alignment, resource allocation and execution that spans the entire operation.

With 30 years' experience helping the world's largest enterprise, service provider and public sector organizations transform their operating models, we have learned digital transformation and IT modernization initiatives should be happening simultaneously and viewed through the following lenses:


Business and technology, strategy and execution, physical and digital

Not all companies think this way. Many recognize the importance of bringing business and technology together, but need help doing it. Others may have a loose understanding of how to execute a strategy, but struggle to see it through. For some, the thought of bridging a gap between these worlds is a foreign concept.

Regardless of where you and your company fall in, it is imperative to your digital transformation efforts that you bring together these concepts.  

When business and technology leaders align on goals, it's easier to prioritize work and allocate the right people and resources needed to execute the strategy. It also helps articulate the physical and digital domains that accelerate business outcomes and ROI by enabling organizations to transform through:  

  • Unified and resilient systems.
  • Technology that keeps up with the pace of business aspirations.
  • Building a workplace that attracts and retains talent.
  • A sense of clarity and understanding of investments with finance and IT.
  • Breaking down silos that hold teams back.
  • An innovative culture that fosters creativity, productivity and growth.

Let's dive deeper and explore how overlapping these six worlds can accelerate digital transformation and infrastructure modernization. 

Business and technology 

Effective communication is a universal ingredient to success. When teams — specifically at an executive level — are on the same page, they're more able to collaboratively tackle challenges.  

We've found the single greatest success or failure point of digital transformation is the alignment of business and technology leadership. The larger the organization, the wider the gap and more critical alignment becomes. 

Close alignment of all parties yields a more efficient and effective partnership, which leads to faster release of digital transformation deliverables — from experiences to system modernizations — and accelerated ROI.

Consider Elanco Animal Health, a multi-billion dollar animal health company that worked collaboratively with WWT to build from scratch an end-to-end IT infrastructure that could scale and meet the evolving demands of its business stakeholders. 

Knowing the needs of a more digitally focused and data-driven organization, Elanco's technology leaders reimagined how its core applications and services utilized the cloud, allowing stakeholders to extract trapped value and focus more on strategic opportunities. In the end, a modernized, cloud-based infrastructure provided Elanco with a robust IT ecosystem that could foster innovation and increase productivity of a hybrid workforce, while simultaneously establishing a foundation to grow into a digital-native business ready to seize future growth opportunities. 

Strategy and execution 

Historically, the functions of consulting and delivery have operated structurally and functionally independent of one another. Pragmatically though, these services are often complementary when delivering a solution and experience.  

Consultancies can provide an incredible vision. But the delivery side needs to figure out how to solve it. And, in fact, execution is typically the hardest part. 

The closer you can keep the idea to the mechanism, the more likely you are to ensure your strategy is grounded in the realities that impact your organization: organizational structure, current technology ecosystem, customer and employee base, and other market conditions. When strategy and execution are in lockstep, execution is more consistent, resilient and efficient.  

Take, for example, Freeport-McMoRan, a global mining firm that collects millions of data points daily from its large fleet of haul trucks and wanted to tap into trapped productivity hiding in its data. After assessing Freeport's data maturity, we collaborated with key stakeholders from across the Freeport business to identify and prioritize specific use cases that would create value for the organization before diving deep into which algorithms or platforms should be utilized. 

With a strategy in place, we worked together to build an intuitive, user-centric web application that translates massive loads of data into clear and actionable insights, giving Freeport a reliable data and analytics foundation to unlocked exceptional ROI across a variety of use cases.

Physical and digital 

Linking physical and digital can mean different things for different organizations or industries.

The key here is experience. A seamless experience is now table stakes across the board — from network architecture and workplace experience to a consumer app or digital signage.  

For any industry, digital should act as an extension of the physical to go the proverbial last mile and deliver an experience that encourages a desired outcome. Combining these realms means digital offerings are taking full advantage of the physical infrastructure it is running on top of. Likewise, physical is always optimizing and empowering the experience it is underpinning.

Think about how WWT and Little Caesars worked collaboratively to completely transform their kitchen with a cloud-native point of sale system that increased operational efficiency. 

The goal wasn't to simply bring Little Caesars up to speed with the market. The goal was outpace the market and maintain that gap moving forward. We leveraged a human-centered approach to make onboarding and training easier, and embraced data so the system could evolve the Little Caesars' patented Hot-N-Ready promise through cloud-based data and analytics and deepen their competitive capabilities by more easily integrating third party delivery providers. 

Now what?  

While there are many downstream requirements that support IT modernization and  digital transformation, aligning these six worlds is imperative for an efficient and effective digital journey. 

Transformation requires precision, commitment and collaboration. Even minor discrepancies or hiccups can derail a transformation — sometimes stopping it altogether. Further complicating matters is the need for accelerated transformation as business leaders compete with rapidly evolving technology trends and a never-ending stream of disruptive competitors. 

WWT has enabled some of the world's most recognizable brands and emerging corporate powerhouses to use technology as a competitive differentiator. We've helped companies stuck in the planning stages of digital transformation while guiding other customers from end to end.  

If you're interested in learning more about our capabilities related to digital transformation, check out some of our case studies to see how we align business and technology, advise and execute, and blur the lines between physical and digital to simplify and accelerate the transformation journey.