Digital Agility in the New Normal

By Nishant Patel, Mar 18th 2020

Two weeks ago, digital transformation--optimizing your IT and business operations for the modern digital world--was an exciting business approach that streamlined communications and combined services, allowing a company to scale its digital presence and move rapidly.

Last week, it became a global necessity.

Even in the days leading up to the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic of the COVID 19 virus, connectivity grew in importance as businesses encouraged employees to work from home, travel plans halted, and conferences and meetings moved online. Add to that the necessity of making and communicating hour-to-hour strategic and tactical shifts. Just one example: As of 10 AM last Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors were intending to play games in a fan-less arena; by sunset, the NBA had announced it wouldn’t be playing any games at all.

Businesses are scrambling to find solutions in this evolving and sometimes panicked environment. A digital transformation strategy can provide businesses with more nimble services that easily scale and iterate. But what should you consider as you explore options?

Start with Strategy

Yes, we are in an urgent moment, and there’s a real need to increase the alacrity of communicating with and providing for customers. But just like most major business decisions, you’ll be better served by setting a digital transformation strategy before you make big moves. The strategy process will determine current needs and identify goals, technical gaps, and customer expectations. It’s also helpful to use this time to understand the risks and obstacles of launching a digital transformation strategy, as well as getting an overview of the vendor landscape and range of capabilities.

A Microservices Approach

As companies now scramble to shift strategy as swiftly as possible, this moment reminds us of the importance of implementing solutions that are reliable, flexible, and quick. A microservices approach to digital transformation allows you to build a solution seamlessly architected with a variety of services each tailored to an individual task. If one doesn’t work, or just doesn’t work for you, it can be easily replaced. You are not tethered to a single monolithic architecture that cannot easily flex with changing priorities.

The key is strategically designing the foundational architecture for using microservices and then picking the right solutions for your unique needs. Start with a manageable project or MVP and just one or two services. Use Agile methodologies to build, quickly test and adapt. Initially work in parallel with your existing infrastructure/architecture. There is no need to rip and replace your entire stack on day one.

Strategic Vendors and Partners

If you need help with design and/or implementation, carefully evaluate partners and vendors that are strategically aligned and committed to microservices, API-driven architectures and Agile methodologies. They will be best positioned to assess and anticipate your needs, architect your solution, recommend appropriate technologies and move quickly with you. As part of this process ask them to share their digital transformation philosophy, microservices best practices and relevant experience.