Moving through a digital transformation is tough, no matter where your company is in the journey. Central to the success of any digital transformation initiative is understanding how your company views technology and how your employees work – and then aligning those insights to empower a digital workplace.

Ad-hoc and transformation are two of the five enterprise archetypes – or types of enterprises – defined in a recent report from Information Services Group (ISG) that we’ll be exploring. I’ll cover the other three archetypes — cloud-enabled, digital and next-gen sourcing —  in more depth in subsequent blog posts, but you can read an overview of them, and ISG’s report, in this post: The five enterprise archetypes: Which one are you?

The ad-hoc enterprise archetype

If your enterprise is that of the ad-hoc archetype, IT is often viewed as a cost centre, instead of one that generates value. In some cases, the value may be understood, but only through the lens of the return on investment. IT at ad-hoc enterprises typically consists of multiple silos and is disjointed from the business. Workplace transformation is driven by an ad-hoc requirement, such as a merger or geographical expansion.

Ad-hoc is not an ideal archetype for digital transformation. When it comes to IT, the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” adage can be lethal, and “staying the course” rarely ends well. Invariably, users will bypass slower enterprise IT, and the friction will generate shadow IT and information silos, leading to productivity loss. Also problematic: security vulnerabilities may increase as time goes on.

The transformation enterprise archetype

The transformation enterprise is in some ways similar to the ad-hoc enterprise in terms of both viewpoint and IT set-up. The key difference, however, is that a transformation archetype will adopt digital workplace initiatives so that its IT is no longer seen as a cost centre. The transformation-oriented enterprise is often well aware of the perils imposed by its legacy infrastructure and undertakes transformation initiatives to lessen that impact.

Transformation that fits your archetype

Both archetypes require proper guidance. This is especially true for ad-hoc enterprises, as they are not likely to recognise the full potential of a digital transformation initiative, even if they are in the midst of one. The advantage transformation enterprises often have is that they see IT automation and self-service as top priorities, and believe that integrating systems in a highly automated manner can build a user-centric process to fit the needs of the worker. Perfecting self-service can allow IT to be proactive and invisible, fixing problems before they affect the user or the enterprise.

DXC is quite familiar with both archetypes, and we relish the opportunity to help clients shed the traits that hold them back from digital transformation. As an example, one of our clients was using a 20-year-old Lotus Domino system for email, collaboration and instant messaging. The system, and its functionalities, were clearly outdated. The large mailboxes experienced frequent performance issues, there was no screen sharing, and message record management and backup was costly. When a new CTO was hired, the company agreed with the CTO that it was time to migrate off of Lotus Notes. DXC helped migrate the company from the legacy system to Office 365, and in doing so helped position the company for change. Now, the enterprise is able to leverage newer and emerging technologies as it moves through its digital transformation.

So, are you an ad-hoc enterprise or are you a transformation enterprise? Perhaps you feel as though neither suits your company.

Or maybe your enterprise is still figuring out what digital transformation means to them. A good place to start is ISG’s report, and follow along our blog series on the topic. Stay tuned as we go into the cloud archetype in the next post.