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Digital Transformation Starts with an IT Strategy

Authored by Victor Tinger, VP of Digital Transformation Solutions  |  InterVision |  August 6, 2018

Digital Transformation (DX) is the practice of evolving a business using digital solutions, processes and services to harness growth opportunities for the future. According to an IDC spending guide, worldwide spending on Digital Transformation will exceed $1 trillion in 2018[i]. This growing embrace of Digital Transformation translates to a recognition that technology continues to play a crucial role in modern business practices. For this reason, companies that fail to encourage digital change could see themselves scrambling to catch up with competitors.

Benefits of Digital Transformation

  • Streamlined business service delivery
  • Faster attention to customer needs
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Better alignment between IT, business units and company leadership
  • Repositioning of IT from a cost center to a business driver

Technology is the underlying secret sauce of modern business, so it should come as no surprise that the IT department, having ownership of IT systems and datasets, must help lead the way in increasing agility and efficiency across the rest of the organization. Consequently, the success of Digital Transformation depends heavily upon a strong IT strategy, aligning IT with the rest of the business.

An IT Department Plays a Key Role in Digital Transformation

Indeed, the IT department plays a major role in Digital Transformation for many reasons. IT has a unique view of the technology landscape including everything from business continuity and cybersecurity to applications and infrastructure. With any Digital Transformation project, new technology adoptions will occur, and these adoptions should pass through expert hands to ensure effective implementation and seamless user experience. As such, IT plays a valuable role in facilitating digital change within an organization. As with any large scale or complex organizational change, executive leadership must empower the efficient company-wide transformation. DX without a holistic perspective means portions of the business could be shortchanged.

 But the onus doesn’t fall on executive leadership exclusively; IT also bears responsibility. It’s too common for a business to view technology as a burdensome cost rather than an innovation driver. An article[ii] in CIO.com identifies a survey from Korn Ferry that exposes some of these gaps between IT managers and company leadership: “38% believe the CEO and Board still see the technology officer function as more of a cost center than revenue generator.”

38% believe the CEO and Board still see the technology officer function as more of a cost center than revenue generator.” – Isaac Sacolick, CIO.com (in reference to a survey from Korn Ferry)

This is an area where IT must shift perspectives and provide more visible value back to their organization. Digital Transformation is the best way to do this, as it forges a greater connection between IT and the business, enabling opportunity for growth as a result of alignment. The more aligned IT is with the business and leadership, the more successfully they will be able to see their purpose and ultimate goals.

Your Digital Transformation Journey Demands a Dialogue

To begin implementing Digital Transformation within a business, IT managers and executive leadership must align on a strategy and the goals they’d like to accomplish. This is no easy task, since it requires mutual trust and understanding, as well as a knowledge of business technology interdependencies. As part of understanding company-wide interdependencies, IT should examine areas for technology improvement, such as pain points that lead to shadow IT. Articulating the desired outcomes for Digital Transformation gives stakeholders the chance to confirm goals and determine steps to achieve those goals.

3 Areas of Impact Can Make or Break Digital Transformation

In driving Digital Transformation to a successful implementation, three impact areas play an essential role: 1) technology, 2) process and 3) people. Connected to each other in more ways than IT managers probably would like to admit, technology prevents a business from moving forward if it is outdated and not secure. Furthermore, cumbersome processes for maintaining that technology can hinder overall security and go-to-market. How effective any given technology or process will be dependent upon having the right talent to perform testing, maintenance and recovery, which often makes “the people aspect” the hardest piece of the puzzle.

Don’t Forget the Foundation of Any IT Solution

Foundational to any IT upgrade or Digital Transformation solution is the protection of assets and ongoing plan for business continuity. No company can afford to risk reputation or halt business for a prolonged period of time to migrate new IT systems. For this reason, assess your resources ahead of time, so shared aspects don’t overburden the rest of the business during the Digital Transformation journey. This is another area where a robust IT strategy can assist in Digital Transformation, noting where, when and how resources should be allocated or provisioned from a third party.

Security measures go hand-in-hand with risk mitigation. Businesses should approach the resiliency of their IT systems from a two-pronged perspective: proactive and restorative measures. Proactive measures include firewalls, anti-virus, DNS scanning, IPS, etc., while restorative measures are backups, replication, offsite recovery, and other IT disaster recovery aspects. This two-pronged perspective ensures a level of coverage to increase overall IT resiliency. In an ever-evolving threat landscape, security and disaster recovery plans must be aligned—perhaps managed by the same team—because the fallout from a weather event and a security breach have similar impacts on reputation, and thus can have similar response measures.

InterVision’s Digital Transformation Methodology

With over 25 years of experience, InterVision leads the way in helping companies leverage technology to innovate and tackle even the most complex business challenges.  Our Digital Transformation Solutions (DXS) practice is committed to this same goal. Read our white paper, “5 Business Drivers of Digital Transformation,” to gain insights into enabling a successful Digital Transformation for your business.

InterVision takes a consultative approach to understanding your needs first and foremost, which ensures the best-fit solution for your organization. Our broad solution sets, services and technology partnerships mean we have the flexibility to accommodate your organization in both common and unique scenarios. To learn more about how InterVision can assist your organization with Digital Transformation, fill out this contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.

[i] International Data Corporation (IDC). “Worldwide Spending on Digital Transformation Will Soar Past $1 Trillion in 2018, Led by the Manufacturing Industries, According to a New IDC Spending Guide.” Business Wire, June 2018. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180612005256/en/Worldwide-Spending-Digital-Transformation-Soar-1-Trillion
[ii] Sacolick, Isaac. “3 ways CIOs can change the CEO’s perception of IT from cost center to strategic.” CIO.com, June 2018. https://www.cio.com/article/3284288/cio-role/3-ways-cios-can-change-the-ceos-perception-of-it-from-cost-center-to-strategic.html

5 Business Drivers of Digital Transformation