Three Steps to Achieving Digital Optimisation

Published February 13, 2024

Erin Ingrassia UKI Marketing Manager d.velop AG

During the COVID pandemic, the sprint to digital transformation and work-from-home models led to chaotic cloud and system adoption. Change that would typically take months, involve careful planning and explore multiple options and vendors was brutally compressed into emergency rollouts within just months at over 80 % of companies. The result in the workplace is a messy digital environment at best —struggling to move beyond purely functional digitisation and failing to realise any additional productivity or transformation gains.

Research from MuleSoft shows that in 2022, 58 % of employees still lose up to an hour daily from a lack of integrated workplace solutions, completely undercutting any potential ROI from digital adoption. Siloed systems continue to hamper efficiency gains and increased visibility years after their deployment. In short, the true benefits of digital transformation remain largely unmet at most enterprises.

Until now that is. Organisations are finally breaking free of these challenges — not by introducing further transformation but applying a new focus on optimisation.

This refreshed approach is set to streamline existing digital systems and processes rather than implementing additional new solutions. It will connect siloed systems into aligned data and process ecosystems that take the spotlight as companies determine exactly what they need while carefully upgrading select vulnerabilities and inefficiencies. Overall refinement will win the day, and below, we identify three key steps that organisations need to take to make the most of digital optimisation.

Power AI With Good Information Management

A key driver for digital optimisation includes applying AI and machine learning to help automate repetitive tasks and enhance data-driven decisions. Yet hurried cloud migrations left companies without sound information management, drastically limiting current AI readiness.

Way back in 2017, InfoQ highlighted that…

“there is no artificial intelligence without good information architecture.”


Indeed, you could argue that the significant advances in AI and machine learning since 2017 are useless without good information management and governance.

Succeeding with AI requires solid information governance, quality and curation — but above anything else, clean, accurate, and comprehensive metadata. Information environments that cannot deliver organised and catalogued content and data will need modernisation and oversight to see any benefit from AI and automation fuel downstream.

In contrast, those information environments that methodically capture, classify, and govern content will reap substantial rewards. AI tools will continue to expand — fuelling initiatives that may have struggled in the past due to complexity or lack of capabilities. However, algorithms and models cannot overcome low-quality inputs. Over the coming months, leading organisations will prioritise information management and, subsequently, with well-managed, classified and comprehensive information environments, will achieve the best results. 

Move to Connected Information Ecosystems

In theory, digital transformation offers many benefits to an organisation, including increased productivity, streamlined processes and enhanced visibility via detailed and accurate analytics. However, the disconnected point solutions within many enterprises are a significant roadblock to realising this potential. We are seeing a concerted effort to resolve this challenge – with a notable shift from siloed systems towards a connected ecosystem mentality.

In 2017, Greg Satell argued that we shouldn’t get rid of silos – just connect them. Silos were installed for a reason and typically serve a valid purpose – whether storing content of a particular type, providing workflows or UIs for specific departments or processes, or delivering against a compliance requirement of your industry. Irrespective of the reason for having multiple systems, finding ways to integrate and connect these silos into a single functioning ecosystem makes even more sense.

Careful integration efforts retain individual systems’ existing functionality and benefits while connecting them into simplified, holistic processes that offer users a single and end-to-end solution to their daily workflows. There are various technical approaches to integration: API-based interfaces, master data management, content migration, and systems federation all offer IT teams the tools to provide unified access and governance across critical business platforms.

Over time, niche applications may become redundant and can be retired — however, this is not the primary concern. Instead, the focus is on making the best of the existing systems — optimising rather than replacing or retiring. With this considered approach, CIOs can deliver extensive ROI on the back of existing investments.

Secure The Digital Transformation Ship

The move to remote working and cloud systems during the pandemic came with understandable urgency. Organisations could not afford workers to be without access to systems, from email to accounts and HR. Yet compressing typical multi-year system selection and implementation cycles into weeks inevitably saw governance suffer. Equally inevitably, those rapidly assembled digital environments are now starting to bend and break.

During the pandemic itself, cyberattacks increased by 75 % — often focusing on the reduced security in place while employees worked from home. But as we move through 2024, the challenges are somewhat different.

A primary focus for organisations this coming year will be on security —not just perimeter security (such as firewalls and antivirus) but also information compliance and security. We are seeing companies thoughtfully revisit their pandemic-era digital transformation efforts with the benefit of hindsight — exploring what is working well, what is struggling, and where improvements can be made.

Rather than undergoing additional rip-and-replace initiatives, we predict a focus on optimisation of the infrastructure and solutions already deployed — with specific priority on enhancing security, information governance and system connectivity.

This shift from transformation to optimisation is the next logical step in the evolution of every organisation from analogue to digital. Yes, the move was a forced one for many during the pandemic. Nonetheless, we will see another seismic shift in digital working this year. Those businesses proactively performing digital optimisation will reap the benefits — and be in a perfect position to deal with anything the world throws at them.

The Verdict: Optimise Rather Than Transform

Many organisations went through rapid digital transformation during the pandemic – and are now faced with systems that may be digital – but are certainly not optimised. The breakneck pace of enterprise cloud adoption left the digital environments within organisations of all sizes messy and vulnerable. However, undertaking additional change risks the addition of even more disconnected tools and processes. Instead, the path forward lies in optimisation of what already exists rather than further transformation.

With information foundations upgraded, fractured systems connected to ecosystems and governance applied, organisations will finally be able to maximise their return from their existing digital investments. AI, analytics and automation can only succeed when deployed on top of a solid platform of compliant and connected information management.

The future places a distinct focus on how businesses can get the best from the systems they now have in place – performing digital optimisation exercises to streamline operations and get the best from what they already have.

Book a software demo 💻

Experience the power of d.velop’s software with a personalised live demo, easily requested with just a few clicks. Watch as the software comes to life before your eyes and ask any questions you may have in real-time.