POST WRITTEN BY
Jeffrey Ton is EVP, Product and Service Development at Bluelock, which provides enterprise organizations with cloud services.
As technology increases in pervasiveness, many in business are looking to transform their information technology (IT) departments for competitiveness. The availability benefits of cloud have made it possible for organizations to keep their virtual doors open for business at all times, but this has also shifted expectations. Now, customers demand constant access to services. This always-on business model and the quick evolution of technology capabilities make the purpose of IT not to save money, but to assist their business in technology innovation.
If you are looking to transform your business, keep in mind these three components to a successful digital transformation:
1. Business optimization
2. Digitization of customer experience
3. New digital revenue streams (built on data)
In addition, it’s good to establish that IT transformation seldom happens all at once — it’s best viewed as a journey of improvements toward an end destination. As readers, your organizations may be at different points along this path of innovation, and this is okay. To empower progress in your organization, I would encourage a focus on knowing what options exist for evolution and threat mitigation during changes. Here are a few ways to approach IT transformation and measure how well your business is doing in its IT strategy.
Have A Dialogue With IT
To know the specificity of how to achieve overall objectives with certainty, IT must have complete alignment with the business and its leadership. This begins with IT having a dialogue with all stakeholders — which means getting feedback from every business unit and leader. Set up a meeting to establish an open line of communication with IT and welcome “touch base” meetings as a routine occurrence.
When it comes to discussing technology transformation, start with the end goal: what you want out of the transformation. The answer here will help articulate and evolve understanding toward a shared goal of what you see as most important and what must first be achieved to get there. Define what business optimization looks like, what sort of customer experience you want the business to have, and what role technology could play in such an experience. Ultimately, how will IT transformation contribute to increased revenue?
Your conversation with IT will also bring to light some misunderstandings, impossibilities and cautionary stories — things you should take note of for later exploration. If the conversation gets overwhelming with a lot of vague terminology or acronyms, check out this article from me for recommendations.
Know The Technology Options
Once you are on the same page with the IT department, it’s key to understand the full suite of technology options that exist in the marketplace, since you’ll use these options to narrow which could be best for your business. Don’t expect your IT department to know the landscape in its entirety. This is where market analysts and industry reports have value, as well as speaking with hired consultants and third-party sellers.
When engaging with third-party sellers or technology providers, in particular, it can be a positive situation when they understand your initiatives and the places you ultimately want to go, rather than only knowing a solution that you’re interested in. A clear understanding of end goals gives third-party providers the opportunity to give you advice on other options if there’s something else that could also work, even if it’s not something they sell. Since you and your IT team may not know all of the technology options at-hand, establishing a good working relationship with vendors helps to achieve the best fit for your business with expert support at your sails.
Examine Whether Solutions Will Enable Flexibility In The Future
It can be difficult to predict how the marketplace will evolve years down the road. However, giving your business the best stance to compete and adapt is the purpose of executive leadership. This is where you want to pause and look back at the three components of successful digital transformation again — business optimization, digitization of customer experience and new digital revenue streams. How well do the available solutions match up to these goals and expectations?
When it comes to technology, the goal is usually not to purchase replacement parts or hardware for legacy systems if those purchases will stifle your business in its adaption to new challenges. This is yet another reason why the cloud has become so popular in recent years — people are recognizing that a high-availability business model has developed and isn’t going away, which makes downtime no longer an option. The ultra-flexible nature of cloud means that organizations can maneuver into new solutions easily if needed.
When considering possible solutions for your IT transformation, you want to look for what will not only satisfy existing needs but also offer something new that will push your business along the path of innovation. There’s no point in buying a horse if a car will take you there faster.