Digital transformation means giving up trusty tools

The No. 2 pencil you recall from your college entrance exam has a long, storied history. Ernest Hemmingway and John Steinbeck penciled their novels. Pencils had an early role in the space race as a writing instrument because they work in zero gravity. A pencil even had a starring role in an iPad Air commercial.

As much as we admire its place in history and the purity of its utility, the pencil has its shortcomings. A pencil falls short as a collaboration tool, and it’s slow and cumbersome to share the writings when compared to 21 Century options. It’s not just the pencil that we’re calling out. It’s also paper, three-ring binders, printing, and solo versions of word processing and spreadsheets. These once innovative tools can no longer keep up with the digital transformation underway in business today.

Why digitally transform?
The reason that companies across sectors are digitally transforming is to compete and win globally. By digitizing business processes and adopting cloud-based computing platforms, digital businesses are exceptionally efficient and they produce and deliver at dizzying speeds.

McKinsey, a worldwide management consulting firm, labels the shift to digital as “organizing for the age of urgency.” McKinsey’s research calls for making faster decisions, shifting to relentless value creation, unleashing decision making, using advanced analytics, and cultivating purpose, values, and social connection.

As McKinsey put it, “Agility is the ideal way to integrate the power of machine-made decisions, which are going to become increasingly important to your fundamental decision system.” Agility, a building block for digital transformation, is harder to embrace and exemplify, given natural resistance to change. Machine-made decisions encompass many buzzwords you’ve heard like M2M, automation, and AI.

Embracing digital for managing vulnerabilities
Digital transformation is changing the way some organizations manage IT vulnerabilities. A perfect example of this is the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division (BSD). It consists of 5,000 faculty and staff spread across 32 departments all operating independently. How could a renowned institution with many independent fiefdoms manage vulnerabilities collectively and holistically?

The full-length answer is a case study we welcome you to download. Suffice it to say, with 800 servers, BSD needed a cloud-based integrated risk management platform with a solution for managing vulnerabilities. This led to automating cybersecurity tasks like scanning, prioritizing, assessing, and reporting vulnerabilities. The results were exceptional in vulnerability response time and success rate.

Pencil in digital transformation
You don’t have to be a market leader or a contrarian thinker to embrace digital. The tools are advanced and available. Plus, there are plenty of examples like BSD that have paved the way with their solutions. Of course, it doesn’t mean giving up your No. 2 pencil, paper, three-ring binder, and solo office applications. You’ll still use them time to time. With digital transformation, it’s just easier to give up something when you’re going to something better. Pencil it in as progress.

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