Plotting your DX strategy in the new normal

DX: Get Serious

Have you seen the pandemic internet joke? It asks, “Who has driven Digital Transformation the most?” Options A and B are CEO and CIO, while – hilariously – option C, Covid-19, wins all the votes. Behind the dark humor lurks a business reality. As a recent Forbes article commented, “COVID-19 will be remembered for many things and what’s becoming indisputable is how it is rapidly transforming business”.

The pandemic has caused organizations to accelerate DX targets this year. Face-to-face retailers had to pivot to web traders overnight, or close their doors for good. The hospitality sector transformed from restaurants to take-out vendors, while entire supply chains regenerated from scratch. Coffee shops in commercial districts shut down, while manufacturers of bicycles, family-friendly coffee machines and home gym equipment have never been busier.

The clamour to accelerate is palpable. A recent financial services industry report says 72% of those surveyed “have grown more innovative in 2020,” with one banking COO remarking “We have never seen such transformation, such a drive for innovation, as we have witnessed in the last four or five months [to July 2020].”

Things are changing at unprecedented pace. And while larger organizations may need a little more time to adjust, the clock is already ticking. Online only retailer Ocado has just overtaken heavyweight rival grocer Tesco, a clear signal of market disruption. IDC predicts that 60 percent of global GDP will be digitized by 2022, a prediction made before the pandemic hit this year. The strategic mission was always about achieving DX ambitions. Now, the urgency has gone off the charts.

Picking the right place to start

Organizations depend on business systems that form the backbone of their operation. Those systems are irreplaceable – they support operational success and are typically the engine-room of revenue-generating activity. By acknowledging the critical value of trusted technology, IT leaders can leverage that advantage on the path to digital transformation. Our 2020 study reveals that 92% of core business apps are strategic – smart CIOs seek to use and adapt what matters as the basis for a better future.

Strategic change is not a quick fix, a single box to tick. Therefore choosing the option that leverages what has served the organization well, adds technology that maximises returns, minimises risk, and brings new value, has significant merit.

The right road

While it is convenient to look at Digital Transformation as a onetime activity and pre-defined outcome, it is never a single journey. It will involve multiple stages, each one a different objective, direction, requirements, challenges and required resources. With so many factors, technologies and approaches available, the risk of failure is high, simply due to the number of variables. Mitigating risk means reducing variables. Which means leveraging approaches, process and tech that works.

Perhaps therefore unsurprising that our survey found that 70% of IT leaders are looking to modernize this year. Modernize means reusing what already works to achieve new things. It is the perfect vehicle.

On the other side, a less certain journey awaits those looking to rip out trusted technology and start from scratch. Studies reveal eye-wateringly high rates of failure of such projects.

Modernization journeys will differ, and will combine over time to achieve a greater whole. Such ambition is strategic, avoids the sharp turns that threaten business continuity, and programmed to address the three transformational challenges of applications, processes and infrastructure. Helpfully, your handy DX GPS system is already on: Micro Focus’ Modernization Maturity Model outlines the key factors, choices and considerations of the planned route to DX, enabling IT teams to take the journey with confidence.

Travelling companions

Regardless of the journey, the basic elements of successful change programs are never far from centre stage. Those elements feature the usual suspects of people, process and technology.

People: Major change may require a supporting cast. After all, the destination is new territory for the organization. The enterprise needs a respected partner with a record of 1,000+ successes across a 3-decade heritage of success, connected to a deep partner ecosystem ready to implement the full breadth of the required modernization solution.

Process: DX is a competitive play so wherever the destination, it needs reaching fast, hence contemporary agile and DevOps best-practices that embrace test automation, CI/CD, plus refactoring of valuable services, API enablement, and using IDEs to accelerate app delivery – all vital components of an efficient DX framework.

Technology: Accepting that trusted systems are a foundational element of change, enabling technology needs to bridge current and future requirements. This means integrated toolchains that allow collaboration, connection and creation of new services, and which support rapid testing and deployment wherever those services are needed (cloud or containers, mainframe or mobile). It also means checking with the GPS – our technology unlocks the secrets of core business systems to provide the right modernization route planning in real time.


For enterprises living the new now, digital transformation (DX) has become a strategic necessity. Fundamental business change is inevitable, smart change imperative, but DX is risky and modernizing IT operations complex.

Successful, strategic transformation towards DX is possible on a well-trodden trusted path of modernization, proven a thousand times over across 30 years. Our well-defined checkpoints of application, process and infrastructure ensure that, while each journey is different, the flexibility of our modernization solution, makes Micro Focus a long-term partner.

Covid-19 provided even greater impetus for change, but delivering DX requires appropriate discipline. The future of the organization is no laughing matter.

Please feel free to contact me via Twitter if you’d like to talk more about anything I’ve covered in this blog. Don’t miss the upcoming webinar with Standish Group if Application Modernization interests you which will preview the imminent Standish Group Chaos Report. Click on the below picture to secure your place today:

This post was first first published on Home | Micro Focus Blog website by Derek Britton. You can view it by clicking here