Author’s note: The first five posts in this “How-to” series on Digital Transformation focused on identifying what Digital Transformation is, addressing challenges created by market forces and technological change, and identifying where to start. This sixth post in the series lays out why Digital Transformation requires a truly modern approach to IT management.
Digital Technologies’ impacts on companies affect not only business users and business operations but also fundamentally changes the way IT is delivered. IT management must
change as technology transforms organizations, but the reality is many IT organizations are struggling to adapt.
The need is transformation from traditional IT management to Modern IT Management.
The Modern IT Management model addresses not only traditional systems and infrastructure but also the constant and ever-changing customer and employee demands. IT organizations need to be able to embrace, control and provide input for the Digital Business. No longer can IT be a bottleneck. IT needs the practices and governance to confidentially partner with the business to drive and implement initiatives. IT also must have security, integration and scalability blended with control, oversight, and governance.
Challenges for Modern IT Management in the Digital Day
The challenges that IT organizations face are driven by the need to operate both at a strategic and tactical level while addressing the systems and platform from the past (systems that were implemented 5+ years ago, referred to as “legacy”) the current (systems that are being implemented and enhanced to support the current business, referred to as “current state”) and the future (continually evaluating new technologies that will have strategic impact on the business tomorrow). These activities all need to be accomplished in harmony with budget requirements, talent development and available investment funds.
As Digital Technologies have spread across all levels of organizations, many IT organization have found them struggling to keep pace and support their businesses. Some of the challenges IT organizations are facing include:
- Lack of tangible value that is measurable to the business
- Out of balance operational spending as old platform costs continue to exist while new investments are being made in future platforms
- Siloed IT organizations that are not aligned to support Solution Orientation
- Lack of best practices and governance to address the current and future demands
- IT dictated services and service levels that are not aligned with business needs
- Development and testing cycles that take too long and lack ongoing feedback loop
- IT Operations that are too slow and bureaucratic
These challenges are putting unnecessary costs on companies and preventing the integration of business needs with technology needs. This environment is adding several additional challenges:
- IT project prioritization lacks business input
- Ongoing initiatives do not provide competitive advantage for the business
- New system and platform developments are not integrated with the business as a partner
These environments are ultimately creating further gaps between the business and IT. These gaps are driving huge levels of conflict. These conflicts continue to create challenges, such as:
Addressing the challenges for Modern IT Management in the Digital Business
- Business operations have created shadow IT groups aligned to individual needs
- Business operations are going around IT and implementing new applications and functions that are not aligned with the strategic IT roadmap.
Modern IT organizations are working in harmony with the business because they are creating partnership based functional strategy, agreed upon service levels and common goals. In short:
- Information Technology acknowledges the way it needs to present and facilitate their services must continuously evolve and anticipate the rapidly changing demands of business consumers.
- Business Operations acknowledges that there needs to be ongoing conversations involving the business consumers needs and the applications and platforms that support them. Ongoing cost and ultimate platform retirement cycle need to be factored into decisions.
Digital Transformation is driving change in the way IT is leveraged throughout the business. Service levels and Service Management needs no longer focus on the internal customers’ needs. Service Management needs to individually address the needs of the employees, business partners and the external customers:
- Millennials are continually making up a greater segment of the employees in most companies, no longer can internal system be second rate. Internal applications and application support need the same level as customer face applications.
- New technologies, constantly opening opportunities for improved efficiency, business partner (or vendor) applications and platforms need to be constantly evaluated for improvement.
- Customer facing platforms need to be continually reviewed to keep pace with industry standards being set by Facebook, Amazon, and Google.
IT Management that working in harmony with business operations is essential—and in some ways defining—characteristic of Modern IT Management, as implied by challenges described in this post. In the next post in this Digital Transformation series, we’ll cover more about Modern IT Management: specifically, its four core functions of Strategy, Project Management Office, Application Development, and IT Operations.