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4 min read
Claire Dawson

Throughout my career, I’ve seen huge variance in the maturity levels of digital projects. I like to joke that I started working in digital media before the internet was even really ‘a thing’. Fast forward to now, it’s near impossible to live life without it or the digital products and services it enables.


Working firsthand with our customers in the digital space, it’s important that they have a partner they can trust throughout their journeys, not just at the outset. Whether planning, designing, executing or assessing digital projects, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the big picture, losing the equally critical view of how we get to the end goal, and most importantly: the why.


Endava’s recent sponsored IDC InfoBrief, Leveraging the Human Advantage for Business Transformation, seeks to explore these questions by examining how organisations are tackling the ongoing evolution to digital, roadblocks faced and strategic drivers and approaches to integrating technologies into the business to ensure their successful uptake.


Findings from the research were stark: an overwhelming 88% (nearly 9 in 10 people) said that only 50% or less of their digital transformation (DX) projects in the past year met the expected goals or outcomes. Which left me asking my favourite question: why? I always push my team to start any DX projects with this question to get to the core of understanding where the goalposts and desired outcomes are for any customer. Only by understanding this can we set a framework to measure against and – critically – work together to challenge each other and drive progress.


Cutting to the core of transformation


Our recent InfoBrief uncovered several challenges facing companies’ DX efforts that all stemmed from lack of internal agreement. The top reasons for stunted success were limited employee buy-in (39%), conflicting opinions from leadership (36%) and lack of internal collaboration (33%).


Reasons like this are precisely why I advocate for a fully collaborative and transparent relationship across any project. While some clients will have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, it’s our role as advisors to get to deeper challenges and ensure we’re addressing all levels. Only in doing so can you truly get full team buy-in and investment into the work. I believe that a problem shared is a problem halved; in approaching challenges this way, our internal teams and customer teams are better able to workshop and test out strategies to avoid developing any solutions in silo – thus avoiding the dreaded lack of collaboration.


I’ve spoken to clients in the past who have cited Endava’s people-centric approach as a key reason for working with us year after year. Delivery aside, our customers know that we’re in it for the long haul and that we won’t cut and run once we’ve delivered a strategy for implementation. On the contrary, whatever they need, we’re there to support, whether it’s through development or sourcing of technologies, staffing or upskilling.


This trust and the transparency it drives are two key ingredients to any good working partnership. A third I’d add is the ability to challenge, from all parties. Only through challenging old ideas and introducing new ways of thinking will we develop solid strategies for the future. And working as one team allows for continual iteration of brainstorming and strategic testing on any given project.


Diversifying customer capabilities


No matter the strategies in place, transformation always feels like a mountain. But if broken down into logical steps, it suddenly becomes much more manageable. Part of breaking down projects is having the right teams in place to step-change at the right moment, whether that’s identifying risks, bringing new ideas or approaches that customers may not have thought of, or assessing things to pivot when necessary.


That might sound straightforward, but particularly as we discover more and more emerging technologies without the talent pool or capabilities to manage them, things become more nuanced.


Let’s use AI as an example here: according to our findings, 76% of organisations expect upskilling demands to increase due directly to the implementation of AI and automation. To meet that demand, 64% of organisations have set up formal upskilling programmes, but these can often be time- and cost-intensive.


At Endava, we like to think of ourselves as guides, showing teams the path forward to meet these challenges and ensuring that the solutions in place are scalable, adaptable and – as much as is possible – future-proof.


When it comes to AI and automation, we’ve seen that customers are having a particularly difficult time hiring data architects and AI specialists. We’ve met that challenge as we do with any other emerging technology: by building out the capability regionally to then deploy globally. A great example of this is our recent launch of our agentic AI industry accelerator for highly regulated industries that we internally call Morpheus. The first significant step in applying advanced language model operations to automate complex processes, the accelerator aims to support teams with bearing the burden of workloads to help free up people to better manage and upskill.


What is so amazing about taking this approach to customer work is that it is truly a unified, collaborative and global experience, pulling on the best knowledge and skills from different regions to ensure the delivery team has everything they need to support customers. Being based in Australia, I’ve seen this often, where we’ll speak to colleagues in Europe or America to discuss relevant industry challenges or approaches, which we then use to inform our local market strategies with customers. Despite being half a world away, distance is never a hindrance or blocker to progress.


What’s critical is establishing a strong foundation with customers based on that ‘why’ and then developing a strategy in tandem with them to ensure buy-in and avoid siloed solutions.


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