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What are developers' pain points in digital transformation projects?

In a digital transformation project, what are pain points commonly felt by the development group?” That’s the question I put to Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) Global Head Sunder Singh prior to his Oracle OpenWorld/JavaOne session, “Building Smarter Enterprises.” Here’s his response, in which he identifies and discusses five digital transformation challenges. 

1.   “Simplification comes at a price,” said Singh. Developers and development teams who do not have the ability to unlearn and learn quickly will not thrive in a digital transformation project.

“It’s the mantra to move away from complex, time-consuming processes to simplification,” said Singh. DevOps teams must have the self-realization that the current complex way of doing things is costing time and money and will eventually cost the company its very existence. Singh warns that developers must learn to “simplify or perish.”

2.  It’s not easy for IT pros to look at the organization holistically, which is a must in digital transformation projects. Digital transformation impacts the entire organization from IT to line-of-business, said Singh. “Some people think digital is cloud while others think digital is for the front office only,” he explained. Certainly, digital transformation can be enabled by cloud, but it’s not the only component, and neither should the front office be the only focus.

Developers can’t work separately from the organization anymore. A digital transformation project encompasses social, mobile, cloud, analytics, AI, IoT and more and all in an integrated fashion. “All employees must be brought into the change and be provided with the right skills, behaviors and resources to accept and embrace the change,” Singh said.

Failure to do a digital transformation project holistically throughout the organization will lead to “continually playing the catch-up game,” Singh said. “We will keep doing it in parts, building and rebuilding.”

In digital transformation, traditional IT roles will evolve from operational focused to an approach focused on how the application will deliver business value. “There needs to be change management support for implementing new KPIs to help enable the adoption of the new role,” Singh said. “This operational change management should extend from the board room to every employee impacted by the change.”

3.  Executing a digital transformation project in an agile manner is key to success, said Singh. “Adoption of agile, not in a silo but enterprise-wide, [is needed for] responsiveness in a manner to get the products and offerings out to get the first mover advantage is the key,” he said.

In conclusion, Singh noted that resistance to change is futile. Digital disruption is now and will remain the norm for businesses. “The organization’s culture and way of working for decades is being disrupted,” Singh said. Developers must go with this flow and find their roles in the new digital business paradigm.

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