The Role of the IT Team in Digital Transformation

The Moment to Evolve Is Now

Chapter 3

What It Takes to Transform

 

As with any large-scale business initiative, executive leadership must be supportive of the Digital Transformation (DX) journey in order for it to be successful. But the onus of success doesn’t fall squarely on executives. Without a holistic perspective from every business unit, portions of the organization risk being shortchanged. The IT department, more than every other business department, has a unique perspective of the fast-evolving technology landscape and where it could be in the next five years and so on. From business continuity and cybersecurity to applications and infrastructure, IT has a wealth of expertise that can be leveraged for the DX journey to put “digital” to work for the business.

In some cases, the CEO might be asking the IT department to assist with DX. In the ideal scenario however, the IT department itself would be leading the charge along with the CEO. Indeed, the CIO should be in the driver’s seat—if not, someone else will end up doing IT for the company. During the DX journey, IT department should act as a hub to drive the DX experience and the business’s leadership should take a supporting role.

Digital is not doing what you have always done but doing it faster and cheaper. Digital is a full-scale transformation of nearly every facet of your business.

Martha Heller

CIO, Heller Search Associates

A Value-Focused Approach

 

To aid in the DX journey, IT must shift away from their traditional perspectives and begin providing more visible value back to the business. DX is well-suited to push for this change, since it acts to build a greater connection between IT and the business. The more aligned IT becomes with the organization and its goals, the more they will be able to see their own purpose and ultimate goals

Getting Started: Grade IT Responsibilities by Their Type of Impact

Responsibilities that contribute innovative value to the business and increase market competitiveness

Responsibilities that contribute differentiating value to the business

Responsibilities that contribute competitive value to the business

Responsibilities that contribute operational value to the business (“keep the lights on”) and are time-consuming to execute

Responsibilities that don’t contribute any value to the business and are prone to failures and outages

DX means creating new revenue lines based upon data you already have. New technologies will no doubt be adopted during the DX process, so IT must facilitate these digital changes within the business for a seamless user experience. To free up the resources needed to give this attention to the business, IT should reassess all existing operational tasks and consider whether or not these tasks are core to the organization’s identity. If they’re not, then they need to be minimized. This often means offloading all “keeping the lights on” duties because these things don’t contribute direct value back to the business.

The person who wants to lead IT with strategic vision must aspire to be more of a business person than a technologist…For the CIO who lives and breathes their business, the industry gets ingrained in who they are and how they think about technology.

Jeff Ton

Author of Amplify Your Value: Leading IT with Strategic Vision

New Responsibilities for Greater Impact

 

During the DX journey, the IT team will need to focus their attention on becoming innovators for the business, which means becoming fluent in these roles:

Brokers

When tasks that aren’t core to the business are offloaded, IT must act as the conduit between these third-party providers and the rest of the organization.

Assemblers

Able to focus more on core technologies, IT will build more micro-applications into business processes to support customer experience. Think of it as providing your business pre-fab housing to build homes upon.

Integrators

With less focus on building applications from scratch, IT will facilitate daily business by supporting the integration of value-driving applications from third parties.

Innovators

Consider all viable options regardless of bias toward status quo. Be the voice of change, but also the hand of reason, when it comes to applying new digital solutions to old business problems.

Kickstart Your Digital Transformation

Together transformation and optimization meet and improved business outcomes result.