5 Ways to adopt a ‘digital first’ strategy

Organisations, large and small are facing the immense challenge of keeping pace with technological advancements. Unsurprisingly, IT leaders are feeling the heat in terms of their increasingly pivotal role in shaping and delivering the digital vision which includes a raft of considerations such as:

  • User experience
  • IT team up skilling
  • Collaboration and engagement
  • Sustainability


Taking a step back, you could earmark the pandemic as the catalyst for expedited change. It certainly played a major part, enforcing an almost overnight shift to remote working. But it irreversibly transformed digital pedagogy in many other ways, sparking a collective appetite for greater holistic digitisation.

This article focuses on the multi-faceted responsibilities of IT leaders and how they are taking digital transformation to the next level.

1) Laying the Foundations

A robust IT infrastructure is the beating heart of any successful digital transformation. So, first things first. It’s your responsibility to take on the mapping and optimising of your institution’s technology landscape, including:

  • Assessment of current systems
  • Analysis of internal skills/resources
  • Identification of any gaps
  • Plans for future upgrades and investments

From network infrastructure, software applications, systems and end-user devices, a seamless and efficient digital ecosystem that empowers users is in your hands. Additionally, it’s even more vital to lead from the front if you’re wrangling buy-in from influential stakeholders, transitioning from a legacy system, or helping teams to plug digital skills gaps.

2) Bridging the digital divide

You’re more than the go-to Mr fix it; you’re also a strategist! After all, you need to collaborate closely with the board and stakeholders to align digital objectives with the overall mission and goals of your business or institution.

It’s easier to do so when you understand the specific needs and challenges of key stakeholder groups, enabling you to develop targeted solutions that ensure technology supports goals in the most meaningful ways.

3) Nurturing adoption and collaboration

Implementing new technology can be met with resistance. Congratulations! It’s your job to monitor the cultural (social) impact of digital initiatives, paving the way for a smooth transition and non-disruptive impact to systems, workflows and users/partners.

Accordingly, it’s favourable to foster an environment of collaboration, by empowering your community to embrace the digital tools at their disposal. You can boost engagement and your reputation by providing training and support, enabling users to integrate technology effectively into their daily routines, in turn enhancing the entire workplace experience.

4) Fortifying cyber security defences

The digital age brings with it a heightened risk of cyber attacks. This represents a prime opportunity to garner stakeholder confidence, by shouldering the responsibility for safeguarding sensitive data and protecting your network from potential threats.

For these purposes, think about:

  • Implementing robust cyber security strategy
  • Conducting regular vulnerability assessments (with a trusted provider)
  • Educating the business or institutions users about best practices for data privacy and device security. You might want to re-address any policies and practices you already have in place with HR to see if they need updating. Or perhaps you could suggest some lunch and learns for the wider teams to get them engaged in the importance of cyber security and ways in which they can help reduce the risks.


5) Empowering employees

It’s key to fully realising the potential of digital transformation is working closely with employees. You can support their journey by:

  • Identifying and developing customised training programs, empowering them to leverage technology effectively in the workplace and asking for feedback.

At the end of the day, the role of today’s IT leaders is more critical than ever. So then, the power is in your hands to drive the digital vision of your establishment forward, by deploying a trouble-free IT infrastructure, aligning objectives, monitoring impact, amplifying cyber security and providing any necessary digital training to enhance the user experience.

At Academia, we’re a trusted educational IT partner with a proud track record of supporting over 2,000 customers turn their digital visions in to reality.     

Get in touch to speak to one of our experts to see how we can support you create a future-ready IT environment that fosters innovation, collaboration, and a great user experience.

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