The Critical Role of Quality in Digital Transformation

Digital transformation means different things to different people. This makes it a very confusing and misunderstood concept.

Here is the the most consistent definition:

Digital transformation is the adaptation of business operations and improving processes to take advantage of digital technologies.

The “promise,” or desired outcome, of digital transformation, is the acceleration of business activities, better decision making, and increased efficiencies while reducing risk.

If you work in Quality, I’m sure this “promise” sounds all too familiar, but also too good to be true. Improved business outcomes, increased efficiencies, all achieved while reducing risk. Sign me up! Wait a minute…..what’s the catch?

The catch is that Quality is often an afterthought in the digital transformation projects every company should be taking on. At many companies, digital transformation is solely an IT-managed initiative, which will ultimately fall well short of its potential.

To truly achieve digital transformation, the Quality function of the company must partner with IT.

What comes to mind when you think about technology innovations such as Cloud, Internet of Things(IoT), Machine Learning, AI, Blockchain, predictive analytics, Virtual/Augmented Reality, or Digital Twins?

Chances are, if you are in a Quality function, you may think this is all IT mumbo jumbo. And that’s completely valid because IT has you covered with their technical aptitude. But it is imperative that the technical skills get combined with the change and process management strengths that reside within the Quality function.

Technology innovations will not deliver great results without the related process transformation that comes with it. IT does not drive process transformation or change management. They enable it, but they still need a business partner.

The benefits of digital transformation lay in the objectives your company is putting behind it. If your objective is to eliminate paper from a certain business activity, for example, then your thinking is too small.

At many companies the strategy driving digital transformation is too tactical. This leads to a focus on individual applications and not truly improving processes that traverse across many applications, many methods of communication..and require change both internally and externally.

The days of Quality sitting in the back seat of digital transformation needs to end. It’s time for Quality to get in the front seat next to IT to drive to where you want to go together.

Understanding digital transformation and Quality’s role in this transformation has to come first. You don’t need to be fluent in technology, but you do need to be able to partner with your IT team to establish the right orchestration of process change.

Veeva Systems, a market leading cloud software company focused on QMS and document control, aims to foster a closer partnership between Quality and IT.

On June 5th, 2018 Veeva is offering a free one day summit in Cincinnati, OH for any Quality practitioners and their IT counterparts to come together and learn more about how they can partner more effectively to execute on the digital transformation of Quality and adjacent functions. This is an educational event, not promotional.

Please join us and arm yourselves to effectively drive Quality improvements through digital transformation at your company. We hope to see you there!



Posted by Frank Defesche

As senior vice president and general manager of Veeva Consumer Goods & Chemical, Frank is responsible for the strategic direction, growth, and customer success of Veeva's quality applications outside life sciences.