Digital transformation is upon us no matter what anyone says. According to research from IDC, 40 per cent1 of all technology spending will go towards digital transformations by next year.

However, the traditional focus on improving business efficiency and growing revenues are no longer the driving forces behind digital transformation. The main driver for Gate One’s digital transformation work is increasingly how to deliver a better customer experience by providing more value. Our clients understand that if they fail to meet their customers’ expectations, their competitors are more than happy to step in.

The digital world may be inevitable, so why isn’t it paying off?

Artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, big data…it’s all anyone can talk about at the moment. And yet research from McKinsey tells us that 70 per cent of digital transformations will not reach their stated goals2.


Digital transformation might be the future, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore your current infrastructure; Gartner predicts that 90 per cent of current applications will still be in use by 20233

So while these new technologies are eye-catching, organisations should consider whether their IT function actually needs to be bleeding edge.

Don’t run before you can walk

It’s a scenario we see time and time again; as soon as the new shiny thing is released everyone runs towards it. Then, a year down the line, they realise they can’t implement the shiny new technology because their current infrastructure isn’t in order. If you want to be successful, you can’t allow yourself to be distracted by the new when existing old legacy systems aren’t up to scratch.

In the spotlight: how to get it wrong

BA suffered a “catastrophic” systems failure that “could easily have been avoided” when 380,000 customer records containing personal and financial information were stolen4. In failing to maintain its legacy infrastructure, BA suffered a serious IT systems failure, which resulted in the airline Tweeting its customers to confirm sensitive information has been compromised, including passport number, billing address and the last four digits of their payment cards. Worse still, the airline didn’t even know it happened until weeks later.

Similarly, an “IT glitch” with Amadeus Altea software was the result of a neglected network, which caused disruption to certain services. The issue may have lasted just 15 minutes, but it affected 75,000 travellers, attracted negative press coverage5, impacted the reputation of 125 airlines who use the system and delayed flights…plus all the associated costs that go with this kind of failure.

Always remember your future vision

All companies have a vision of where they’re heading, with an ambitious strategy that’s going to get them there. But having the best mobile app in the world is pointless if you don’t have the infrastructure to support it; if your app isn’t working effectively all you’ll succeed in doing is providing a negative customer experience.

Your data centres, servers, storage and networks all need to be invested in to support external facing customer apps. So take a step back and consider whether your current infrastructure is fit for the future. If not, fix the known problem and build the stable foundations on which to grow.

Use your infrastructure as an enabler

Gate One’s client base includes FTSE 100 companies who have big, chunky infrastructure, which is often viewed as a barrier to change. According to the Logicalis Global CIO Survey, 44 per cent of CIOs believe complex legacy technology is the chief barrier to digital transformation6. It might not be the high impact, hype-generating part of IT, but rather than seeing infrastructure as a barrier, why not view it as an enabler?

If your core systems are in good working order now, you’re afforded the freedom to focus on more exciting IT in the future.

Gartner agrees: “Legacy does not have to be a dirty word – legacy can be something you’re proud to leave behind.” It believes that digital platforms can only grow from the strong IT foundations that CIOs have already built. And the research from Logicalis shows that 51 per cent of organisations are planning to adapt or replace existing infrastructure to build the foundation for business change.

Change that’s as simple as 1, 2, 3

You operate in a world where you need to be futureproofed, and without the risk of ending up on the front page of the Daily Mail because everything’s falling apart. Therefore, you need to ensure your IT infrastructure is:

  1. Scalable: using cloud-based computing to ensure IT operations scale in line with your business growth.
  2. Secure: taking a security-first approach by embedding it into the core of your future IT architecture.
  3. Stable: investing in both people and infrastructure to create a stable IT environment that reduces the root cause of most customer’s IT frustrations – human error.

While we use an extensive network of specialist partners to help us deliver technical services, we excel and add value in overseeing the strategic transformation. We help you understand how IT transformation, business transformation and change management come together so you can implement change that counts. Our senior expert teams know the questions to ask that help you navigate the complex decisions needed to set you up for the future, for example:

  • What is your organisation actually trying to achieve?
  • How can technology be used best to help you achieve your vision?
  • What’s the right type of infrastructure for your organisation? On-premise? Cloud? IaaS? PaaS? SaaS?
  • What systems do you currently have? And what state are they in?
  • Have you got the right balance between internal and external facing systems?
  • How will you get employee buy-in across all levels?

In the spotlight: how to get it right

We supported a housing partnership’s pioneering initiative to become the first digital-only housing provider in the UK. The vision was always about improving the customer experience, which would be delivered through various digital initiatives but all underpinned by a sound IT infrastructure to enable that business change.

The results were impressive:

  • Our client became a top 25 service delivery organisation in the UK
  • channels now allow instantaneous customer feedback
  • customer satisfaction is 84 per cent and rising
  • the contact centre has reduced cost to serve by 45 per cent
  • 99 per cent of bill payments now online.

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There’s no time like the present

IT is often the function that gets the blame in major transformation programmes. If you’re tired of being seen as the black sheep of the family, it’s time to get your act together and fix it. Dreaming big is important, but remember, creating the interim step is as important as the final result.

If you’re ready to transform your IT organisation in the right way contact our team

Alternatively, if you’ve enjoyed this article, why not read more about our Target Operating Model services.


James specialises in large-scale IT-enabled change and enterprise portfolio management. He has delivered complex transformation programmes across multiple industries. James is part of the Target Operating Model team and is Gate One’s knowledge lead, which involves capturing and managing our key methodologies.