Over the last some years many organizations across the world have understood the need for rapid digital transformation, and how it is crucial for their survival and success. Many others which were taking tentative steps are now convinced that the benefits are for real. What many also are starting to realise is that IT departments need to transform alongside and move from trailing business needs to be partner to business. A different conversation, for another day, but this change is role is making many organizations cease to have a CIO and have a CTO instead.
Till recently, many organizations looked for the CIO organization to keep lights on, follow business needs at low risk, low costs and provide a high grade of service. But now, those organizations are appreciating that the CIO and her people need to help the transformation (of the organization) directly. With this, also comes the realization that it implies a transformation of the IT organization itself, and we are now talking of a completely different role.
Reading through some survey results available now, the difference between organizations Digitally prepared and mature IT vs those who are not ready, starts becoming clear. Doing Digital readiness assessments at client organizations, we are able to gauge how ready an organization might be in terms of its IT to support a Digital Transformation as well. We have also discerned in all these cases what it might take for the IT to transform itself.
The difference between the laggard organizations versus those who are strategically tight is remarkable. It is clear from our own experiences that organizations not ready or unwilling to restructure their IT find their IT team able to be a digital transformation partner more infrequently, and inconsistently. Our sample sizes are small, but web surveys (with considerable sample sizes) seem to concur.
Often, companies that haven’t yet restructured their IT organization tend to fail in digital transformation initiatives. That’s because the existing, traditional structure of most enterprise IT organizations is not designed for a digital environment and therefore cannot support it.
Our experiences show five important required characteristics of the digital progressive organizations. Should an organization not have these, we recommend that they start today. They IT groups must commit to:
Using the cloud-first philosophy
The days of holding on to data centres are gone. Large owned buildings, server racks etc. do not smell of power, they smell of obsolescence. The reason for migrating to the cloud is not just about costs, but also about speed to market by utilizing the ecosystem available at the speed of an API integration.
The new world
That is working with tech startups, incubating them, embracing them along with embracing automation and artificial intelligence and have these at the core of solutions. That is also stop paying lip service to innovation, but to push it and embrace it formally.
This is in the way decisions are made, stuck to and not revisited over time. This also has to do with pushing software / application development through a rapid cycle. It is about moving away from creating from scratch always. It is about connecting through APIs to already available solution, and it is about operating in a drag and drop component, widget-based environment wherein run, test and refinement happen continuously. All this will challenge an organization’s existing philosophies, and often the core. But then again, transformation starts at the core.
Open skill and talent models
It is not about just outsourcing, or being clustered together. It is about being close to the business. Just sheer proximity in terms of physical location is immaterial. Intellectual proximity and working hand in glove is now crucial. Today’s world, because of newer technology, the required speed, the rapid and open thinking needs a different breed of people, with different skill sets.
With not only business, but also inside of IT. DevOps, absolutely. But, that does not happen without a silo less overall organization where business, dev and ops collaborate openly towards a common organizational goal.
Of course, change is difficult, and this transformation will cause some collateral damage too. But, the philosophy to go with is “Maximum Good for the Maximum Number”.