The digital transformation wave is taking hold in today's enterprise. Businesses are embracing digital technologies to such an extent that companies are reconfiguring their operations around the capabilities offered in digital ecosystems. As organizations take on this transitional period, they can benefit from strategic consulting and IT services that empower them to focus on the underlying cultural and ideological challenges behind a move to digital.

The digital transformation landscape
SAP found that 84 percent of companies the world over believe digital transformation will be critical for them during the next five years. The problem is that many businesses are falling behind. Just 3 percent of respondents to the SAP survey said they have actually completed digital transformation efforts.

With those results in mind, the picture of the digital transformation revolution is fairly clear: There is a general consensus that companies need to migrate to digital operations quickly, but only a few leaders have actually completed any sort of transition. SAP found that those more mature digital organizations share a few key attributes. Ninety-six percent of these companies made digital transformation a core goal. Furthermore, 70 percent found that digital transformation is already leading to better customer experiences. Another 71 percent said they are finding success by using their digital initiatives for talent acquisition and retention.

"Digital transformation isn't just about deploying new technology."

As organizations strive for digital maturity, many are coming to recognize that the transition isn't just about deploying new technology, but changing the entire business. A study from Deloitte and the MIT Sloan Management Review found that companies striving for digital maturity are increasingly aware that they need to change how they organize and develop their workforces while building culture around the innovation and flexibility created by digital technologies.

This prospect sounds daunting, and the change is real. The study found that 70 percent of organizations pushing toward digital maturity have reconfigured their operations around cross-functional teams. That figure drops to 28 percent for businesses early in the digital transformation life cycle. Strategic, long-term planning that aligns with sustained technological innovation is necessary for businesses advancing a digital agenda.

Making meaningful progress in digital transformation depends on being able to not only change as an organization, but do so in line with the demands created by shifting technologies and marketplaces. It is a lot for a business to take on alone, and strategic IT consulting and support can be invaluable in helping companies sustain success. Three ways where third-party help can really pay dividends include:

1. Gaining an outsider's perspective
Many businesses struggle to reconfigure their processes or capabilities because they have such a deep understanding of how they operate that they lack perspective on alternative options. A company that has spent a decade refining a process can be so entrenched in how things are done that it doesn't have the ability to approach the issue from the outside and identify procedures that won't work well in a digital world. Furthermore, internal stakeholders may be so attached to those processes that they won't even consider serious change without pressure or third-party expertise.

IT consultants can bring the perspective they've gained working for a wide range of clients to discussions about your business. The service providers that focus on a collaborative approach will take the time to get to know your organizations and bring their broader viewpoint into play to help you identify the best ways to move forward.

Specialists that have seen a variety of digital transformation efforts can be instrumental in helping your organization identify its own roadblocks and limitations and take action to overcome them.

The right help can go a long way in fostering digital transformation.The right help can go a long way in fostering digital transformation.

2. Offering specialized resources
A digital transformation initiative will put incredible demands on an IT department, pushing teams to constantly roll out and improve solutions to fit the specific needs of business users and customers. Releasing new apps, customizing existing solutions and integrating legacy applications into cloud configurations are just a few issues that come up. Organizations must also seriously assess how they can optimize their database architectures alongside new application demands, including big data and artificial intelligence.

All of these pressures often boil down to giving IT more to do than it can feasibly accomplish on its own. The enterprise IT department has long been structured as a maintenance team, keeping operations running. In a digitally mature business, IT needs to take on the part of a strategic enabler. Through this transition, organizations may need help with custom development and programming, as well as training and similar initiatives. IT consultants can often either provide these services or connect businesses with specialized vendors, making the partnership invaluable as new demands emerge.

3. Running the help desk
Digital transformation forces users to deal with a lot of change. With this transition comes considerable demand on help desk personnel who have to wrestle with the aftermath of new app releases, a constant influx of devices on the network and similar issues that are not only complex, but also vital to sustaining operations.

IT consultants with dedicated help desk services can alleviate the burden on your internal support teams and make sure your users can get the help they need, when they need it. Don't neglect speed and efficiency in backend processes, such as help desk tasks, as digital transformation pushes the entire business to change and innovation. Any gaps can hold back the rest of the company.

With pressure to transform operations around digital technologies mounting, businesses across a variety of sectors are finding themselves facing a constant slate of change and disruption. Organizations that want to get ahead of these changes can use IT consulting services to get strategic help and gain an edge.