Is Digital Transformation real, or just marketing hype? I have been in the workforce for only three years, and already I’ve seen tremendous change in the workplace. But is it transformational, or just progress and smarter working?
I started as an intern at Veracity while I was completing my final year of university, a dual degree in marketing & IT. After graduating three years ago, I joined Veracity full-time and was faced with a suite of disparate onsite, server-based systems, regular and long face-to-face meetings, and shockingly bad broadband Internet and WiFi. Collaborating meant long, meandering meetings, and a working document that would bounce around the office via email until it was finished. Each contributor was left with a version at various stages of incompleteness.
Our aging file server, clunky email collaboration and appalling internet prevented us from being as productive as we could be. We knew we had to more than change. We had to transform our ways of working, our business culture.
Our transformation started by moving our applications to the Cloud. We adopted a cloud first policy. If we couldn’t find a good reason to keep an application on-site, we’d move it to the cloud. We opted for ‘born in the cloud’ finance, order management, CRM, productivity and file management applications that were relatively easy to integrate. While our server room was laid bare by the renovation, our fragile internet connection groaned under the weight of these cloud based applications. This was not resolved until we moved into a ‘fibre district’, closer to the CBD.
Our fibre internet connection marked the next stage of our transformation. At 50 times faster than our old copper connection, (at the same price) our apps started to work better together. By now we were working from anywhere at any time. We began to use the online collaboration tools at our disposal which cut unproductive meeting times in half.
Probably the biggest step forward happened about a year ago when new tech team members joined and brought real SharePoint and cloud configuration expertise on-board which revolutionised our file management capabilities and changed our working lives and culture. Suddenly, we were online, productive and humming. Short, focused, collaborative meetings, accompanied by defined and documented actions became business-as-usual.
Building on a solid foundation of reliable, high-speed internet and integrated productivity tools, I started actively using analytical and workflow tools like Power BI and Microsoft Flow, which have changed my working world.
From where I sit today, the working environment is flatter, more collaborative and project based. I feel empowered by the tools I use to solve the business problems that confront our team. Anyone with relevant knowledge, ideas and a growth mindset is welcome to join a project. It’s liberating.
While we had started our digital transformation journey at our old office, the high-speed internet connection in our Woolloongabba office was the catalyst for real change. We could synchronise our entire document structure to the cloud, we completely removed our servers, and we started to use the full Office 365 suite including Teams for video conferencing without any connectivity issues. Now we have a truly modern workplace. For all staff at Veracity, work is now something we DO not somewhere we GO. It doesn’t matter where I am, if I have a good Internet connection I can be just as productive out of the office as in it.
Our digital transformation is so culturally and operationally embedded that I can confidently say that if our physical office burnt to the ground, we would still be able to do 95 percent of our work. It sounds dramatic, but the reality is that if we lost our physical office, we would still have our Zendesk phone system and service desk, our Xero finance system, our Office 365 Exchange emails, our company and personal OneDrive and SharePoint files and most importantly, all of our customer’s backups and data, stored in the Azure cloud or third-party cloud backup spaces. To me, that is a true sign of digital transformation.
From a personal work point of view, our own digital transformation has made a few key impacts. What was previously individual productivity has become dynamic and agile teamwork. Our disparate systems of old are now integrated and coherent solutions generating more useable data than ever. As an entry level employee, I am now empowered to contribute to any project just as much as my manager or even our CEO. I have the tools, data and connectivity at my fingertips. I have witnessed not only a change in productivity, but a change in culture. Our digital transformation has made our workplace so much more collaborative, has made our team so much more effective, and the huge range of tools at our disposal has encouraged innovation and new ways of thinking.
Digital transformation is real, and it is exciting. Get on board!