Digital Transformation Goes Beyond the Move

I’ve seen many strategies over the last year refer to Digital Transformation strategies as moving to a new platform, getting our “stuff” onto a new platform, figuring out what to do when we move it there, taking what we have and putting it there.

As a learning strategy, while in Development, this kind of strategy provides value to your development teams if they are in entering into learning mode with the goal towards figuring out how best to leverage the infrastructure and identify gaps between your current system and the new one you are moving to.

Beyond achieving that goal, this is not a strategy for achieving your organization’s goals in Digital Transformation and is akin to moving a problem to different environments, where it is now “someone else’s problem”.

Learn the Platform

Take a platform such as Azure.  It’s a great starting point for developers to learn by setting up their own environment, wiring up Virtual Machines and using them in a developer capacity (perhaps even install SQL onto these Virtual Machines).  In this sense, the developer is slowly learning the ins and outs of the new platform – i.e., the basics – before applying it to a solution to solve a problem.

Apply the Platform

Once your team has become comfortable with the new platform they can then start to think about the problem they are trying to solve and how they can leverage this new platform to accomplish their goals.  For instance, instead of setting up SQL Server Virtual Machines for their application, the team should now be focused on migrating/updating their application to work with SQL Azure (and/or Azure Cosmos Db) with multiple databases (not a single monolithic one) managed across a variety of Resource Groups that leverage processing power of these systems to scale as your organization grows.

Whereas “Learning the Platform” could get you onto the platform and proclaiming your organization as being on the platform, you will not really be on the platform, but as previously stated simply shifted to a new platform.  A proper Digital Transformation Strategy goes beyond getting you to the platform and adds in the secondary (most important) criteria of applying the platform, leveraging the platform and finally, making the platform work for you.

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