Why Companies Are Asking IT Departments to Transform

The Impetus of Digital Transformation

Chapter 2

Innovation as the Key to the Future

 

IT departments should be actively enabling company growth and pushing their organizations into the future with confidence. This can be a difficult objective, however, when many IT departments have stagnant budgets, operate with outdated infrastructure, and are overburdened with the tasks of keeping operations running. On top of this, there is a general perception among too many business leaders that IT is a cost center rather than an innovation driver. Together, these collective frustrations make the concept of DX particularly attractive to business leaders.

In an increasingly digitizing business world, most companies need better digital leadership and coordination. You need to create a compelling digital vision, coordinate digital investments, drive appropriate synergies, build a clean technology platform, and foster innovation. You need to energize a busy workforce and generate shared understanding in your senior executive team.

George Westerman

Researcher and author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, MIT Sloan

DX demands the IT team take a leading role in moving the business toward innovative practices. Unfortunately, when other departments are misaligned with IT, it often paralyzes IT teams from taking this leading role. When executive leaders are apprehensive about launching DX, despite knowing the inherent value of it, they are apprehensive partly due to departmental misalignment. These executives may not be actively listening to IT’s concerns and therefore, the misalignment could be coming from the leadership level as well.

IT Alignment with the Business

 

In these organizations where confidence in IT is lacking, there’s usually an IT team that is focused too heavily on tasks that “keep the lights on.” Oftentimes, they’re overwhelmed with day-to-day tactical challenges around managing technology infrastructure and providing basic services and support for the business. It’s not that these IT teams typically lack the skillsets and the desire to be more involved with business decisions; they are challenged with outdated infrastructure, stagnant budgets, resource constraints, and lack of executive support.

Digital transformation is about how technology changes the conditions under which business is done, in ways that change the expectations of customers, partners, and employees.

Gerald C. Kane

Professor of Information Systems, Boston College

On the other hand, within organizations where executive leadership is eager and willing to move forward with DX, there’s confidence that comes from having an IT team that is well-aligned with business needs and challenges. IT managers and executives in this case will usually have an established, ongoing dialogue around cyber threats, innovations within the market, and any IT project challenges they encounter. The IT department “has a seat at the table” to help drive the business forward. When executive leaders partner with IT, setting them up to succeed, it is much easier to approach DX with the required holistic perspective to achieve their competitive objectives.

How to Flip from Misalignment to Alignment

 

No business department is immune from misalignment. In fact, usually when misalignment exists in one department, other departments are often feeling the same. For IT teams that are struggling to ensure ongoing alignment with their business, try improving your relations with these steps:

Open a dialogue with an executive leader (CEO, COO, etc.) as a way to reaffirm your IT department’s direction as it relates to the rest of the business

Listen to what the executive leader’s goals are and figure out how your department can assist in these goals

Make this dialogue a common occurrence, even if it’s a short monthly meeting or lunch between yourself and that executive leader

Pick a different business unit and repeat these steps to establish ongoing dialogue with the whole business

Digital Transformation Is the IT Team’s Shining Moment

 

Because DX demands a certain level of trust placed in the IT team in order to move forward, DX is the IT team’s magic moment to show the rest of their organization that they can evolve into a business enabler. The organization is asking for this. Sometimes, this shift may mean a cultural re-education and hard conversations with executive leadership to secure buy-in and set accurate expectations around the strategy and technology needed for DX. All indications are that the change will be worth it in the end.

The extensive experience and deep expertise of InterVision’s digital transformation practice consultants resulted in a framework that guides the 360-degree view of digital transformation for our clients. If you’d ready to kickstart your DX journey, contact us today.

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5 Business Drivers of Digital Transformation