As organizations look to stay competitive in today’s dynamic and unpredictable marketplace, a trend has re-emerged that is ushering us into the next phase of technology utilization: Digital Transformation.
Digital transformation is not a new concept, but its strategic execution in today’s modern, connected world is more complex and ambiguous than the traditional industry-wide perspective. To unlock the organizational value of Digital Transformation processes, it is time to consider the role and function of the IT organization as it relates to the goals and outcomes of the business.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation refers to the holistic process of implementing and adopting multiple technologies to improve profitability, efficiency, decision making, and customer satisfaction. Shifting business needs and the evolution of digital solutions and tools spurred by the Cloud movement have put increased pressure on organizations to adapt and change to remain competitive.
How to Measure Digital Transformation Success
A key pillar to measuring success relative to digital transformation is inspecting the variability and fundamental changes it has on the IT organization. Data-driven research shows that the service provider model embraced by so many successful organizations over the past couple decades has become dated compared to the modern approach of approaching IT as a whole and integrated part of the business.
Technology is No Longer the Barrier
While playing a key role in supporting the business, IT has been typically seen as challenging for the business. Services and solutions have been traditionally viewed as time-consuming and costly compared to the overall value they present. Additionally, once new services and solutions are deployed, there is the additional need for ongoing support, user training, and adoption campaigns to overcome our general disdain for change. But because of the head-first plunge into Cloud and SaaS business solutions for management of most, if not all, key business processes, technology is no longer the barrier, but rather the key to success.
Immediate Opportunities Lead to Growing Pains
Organizations can now align modern tools and solutions to their future goals and anticipated outcomes in a cost-effective and timely manner. But that doesn’t mean it’s so easy that it happens overnight. In some respects, it has become more difficult to implement due to needing a deeper understanding of business processes, requirements, and goals. For many organizations, this is the biggest hurdle to digital transformation realization as this is the first opportunity leaders have had to look deep inside their operations – which typically presents more issues than results. Many organizations have taken to the concept of buying technology and deploying it without understanding (or wanting to understand) how the technology itself can reshape the trajectory of the organization not just now, but in the future.
IT is Now at the Front Lines of Digital Transformation
The role of IT has fundamentally changed, but many organizations are still holding on to the traditional model. Internal IT leaders and practices must assume an integral leadership role in all business functions across the organization. It is now time align with the digital transformation movement and rapidly transition to the value-added partner approach.
- IT must work hand in hand with all business units to avoid possible catastrophic situations.
- IT needs to have a lead spot at the table for every critical business discussion and be valued as an equal partner.
Enable Transformation with a Center of Excellence
A popular industry approach to accomplish this need is to establish a Center for Knowledge, Process and Innovation (CKPI), or a Center of Excellence (COE) model. The COE model allows IT to establish itself in cross-functional leadership to develop and drive best practices, user support and training, and general awareness across all facets of the organization. The COE’s mission across the organization is to:
- Provide Thought Leadership and Guidance
- Promote Best Practices
- Reduce Costs, Increase ROI, and Limit Change Impacts
- Drive Standardization and Support
- Provide Centralized and Dedicated Subject Matter Experts
The primary Center of Excellence Model focuses on the foundations of Knowledge, Process, and Innovation:
- Knowledge – Providing pertinent and timely data and knowledge to the business in a cost-effective manner, allowing the business to make impactful decisions.
- Process – Optimizing existing governance, playbooks, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to make informed and data-driven decisions supporting the operational needs of the business in a flexible manner.
- Innovation – Driving the organization to rapidly respond to market changes by championing employee’s creativeness and expertise to launch new and improved initiatives.
This is not to say that the need for traditional IT services should be retired. All service-oriented IT functions remain active and critical, but they don’t serve to enrich and produce added value to the organization. They are simply reimagined as managed services with the goal of reducing complexity and supporting the day-to-day functions of the business.
Now is the Time to Rethink Your IT Strategy
Technology reliance is only becoming more prominent and rethinking your IT strategy to align with your business requirements, needs, and initiatives is more important now than it has ever been. Starting today, I urge you to look inward at your organization’s IT functions and challenge yourself to critically think how you can further incorporate the IT organization into an integral strategic partner in the business and have it function as such.
Leadership in today’s market means enabling all facets of the business to provide value and excel in as many ways as possible. It’s simply time to embrace digital transformation in its fullest capacity and enable your company to experience the modern, collaborative approach to working.