The art of transformation

“Don’t look down!” I think to myself for the fifth time in what seems like an endless stretch of minutes.

Eyes straight forward, I try to focus on my balance, and on finalizing concepts in my head for a looming editorial piece. But in a moment of weakness, I grab onto the metal bar in front of me, and look down at the digital display on the treadmill.

Four minutes?!?

I still need to go 21 more and I’m already getting crabby. I straighten up, look ahead and try to steady my breathing … in, out … in, out. I bump up my speed for the first of several speed intervals. I’m just getting back into running and this part of the journey, the beginning, is the hardest part.

It’s not like I don’t know what I’m in for. This is the third or fourth time as an adult where I’ve lost the momentum in my running practice, and realized that I need to take strategic steps (literally!) to get back on course. But this time it came from a different direction than in previous years.

In the past, I’ve been motivated by my competitive nature ─ a distance goal, hearing my upstairs housemate hit the stairs on the way out for a morning run or, honestly, the reflection in the mirror. But this time, it’s different. I’m finding myself shortchanged … by choices I’m making that have led to avoiding the things I’ve always loved ─ like hiking and biking. And the unsettling feeling that unless I evolve, my chosen path will continue to do me wrong.

I understand what’s at stake and see the big picture. Now it’s time to take the steps, starting small, staying steady, and through gradual improvement, gaining momentum and agility, a transformation which yields great results.

Transformation in today’s digital marketplace

What is interesting is how effective this thought practice I learned through running is in so many areas of life where long-range projects or areas of exponential (and sometimes unknown) opportunity exists. Understanding what is ─ or who is ─ at stake, seeing the big picture and not accepting the status quo. Taking continual, sometimes small steps towards the goal and gaining strategic advantage and strength.

Working at Hyland for more than a decade, a company that has been transforming organizations for 25 years with its modular, scalable, digital technology solutions and industry expertise, I have seen first-hand what companies can do with the right platform for managing information. So it is significantly interesting to see the wave of digital transformation that is sweeping over the state of everything in recent years.

The term digital transformation encompasses a vast space of critical business areas, and the scope of it varies widely in context to different areas of data management; but largely, it begins with information input to an organization, and includes analytics, integrations, and intelligent automation. It promotes speed, security and information accessibility to related and concurrent business processes and business systems, and delivers to customers what they need when they need it, transforming the way we do business.

Practicing the art: 3 key components

Here are some things we’ve learned here at Hyland on our journey to help customers achieve their business goals through digital transformation:

1. At the heart of it

At the heart of it: a customer-committed ecosystem bridges the gap between IT and business owners.

Designers of digital transformation victories in every industry have a close understanding of what customers need, and a culture of continuous improvement that enables business units to respond rapidly to changes in the marketplace. This means that solutions must be able to capitalize on the evolving capabilities of all types of electronic delivery devices, from phones and computers to televisions and voice-activated technologies.

This new reality has spurred a shift in mindsets between C-levels and IT and business unit owners, encouraging collaboration and visibility into organizational long-range goals, how individual business units want to respond to point business needs and the technology platforms that enable compliant and secure delivery of resulting solutions. That’s where content services platforms come into play.

“A content services platform is a set of services and micro services,” according to Gartner, “embodied either as an integrated product suite or as separate applications that share common APIs and repositories, to exploit diverse content types and to serve multiple constituencies and numerous use cases across an organization.”

A robust content services platform will be capable of bridging gaps by supporting the integration between existing and emerging systems and hybrid architectures, so systems can share information. The platform will also support rapid application development that provides agility to respond quickly and effectively to evolving needs.

2. The art of it

Begin small, begin big – but begin this practice. Don’t lose because you stalled in getting started.

Data-driven technology is moving at an unprecedented pace. In 2016, according to the technology conglomerate Cisco, global annual internet traffic surpassed one zettabyte (1021 bytes)—the equivalent, by one calculation, of 150 million years of high-definition video.

It took 40 years to get to this point, but in the next four, data traffic will double. Data management capabilities are improving exponentially as well, and those who have the ability to quickly access and deliver critical information at the time they need it will be best positioned to capitalize on emerging transformative opportunities.

Those who don’t may not survive.

Nearly 2,600 CIOs Gartner surveyed last year said they devote 18 percent of their budgets to digital transformation, a figure set to increase to 28 percent by 2018.

– Andy Rowsell-Jones Gartner analyst as told to

Where to focus? Digital transformation is not possible unless information is digital. So, getting rid of paper is a good start. Automating the capture and indexing of paper entering the organization and creating automated digital alternatives to document-centric processes enables the next step: ensuring your information flows securely and smartly across your organization.

Make continual improvement part of your practice. Listen to stakeholders in discrete areas of the organization including customers, partners and internal customers.

Where are the roadblocks to meeting goals? Identify areas where you can automate tasks, or present self-service interactions via mobile or web-based offerings. Even small changes to business processes can yield immense benefits. This is often possible with technology you already own.

3. The vision that connects it all

Invest the time to create a roadmap of identified areas of improvement.

Even though a multi-year roadmap may take some unexpected turns with today’s unprecedented pace of technology evolution, the practice of identifying both technology strategy and tactics from an enterprise perspective by nature requires input from stakeholders across the organization, and identifies and clarifies expectations across the board.

Don’t underestimate the value of the visibility that this tool provides.

If you are not sure how to begin developing a roadmap, reach out to an enterprise technology consultant who can meet you where you are in terms of resources for development of the roadmap, from consulting to end-to-end project execution. An effective roadmap includes milestones, costs, clearly defined responsibilities and ROI.

As emerging technologies and events present themselves with opportunities for your business, a roadmap will support your collective capabilities to make the best decisions on how to move initiatives forward, and support these initiatives in terms of cost, internal and external change management, and meeting customer needs.

Transformation is a journey, not a destination

I keep reminding myself of this, as I focus on the small, repeated practice of just running. I know that my persistence will yield improvements that will make it easier to get better and better. And the path that’s now in front of me is simply spectacular.

It’s fall here in NE Ohio and the trails and woods and fiery display of autumn foliage present a beautiful canvas in which to enjoy the journey. Are you coming along?

As a Content Strategist for Hyland's Global Services, Sarah has a background in business and technical writing and has worked in several areas of the organization since 2003. She has earned several industry certifications along the way—including Microsoft Certified Professional—and has spent time in Solution, Product and Global Services Marketing. Having the opportunity to experience the technical, user-based, enterprise-class and industry-specific areas of Hyland's solutions and services gives Sarah unique insight into the true impact Hyland has on the world. An avid reader and outdoors enthusiast, Sarah enjoys spending time exploring with her Golden-doodle dog Leo and writing about the impactful, inspirational human stories that accompany technology in our evolving, data-driven world.
Sarah Stoner

Sarah Stoner

As a Content Strategist for Hyland’s Global Services, Sarah has a background in business and technical writing and has worked in several areas of the organization since 2003. She has... read more about: Sarah Stoner