An IT Guy Talks About His Experience With Digital Transformation
When talking about digital transformation, it sometimes seems that we are no longer focusing on IT departments, treating it as a support role that serves other functions within the company.
Nothing could be further from the truth – the truth is that CIOs and IT departments will be pivotal in this process. However, they do need to reinvent their roles to better meet the requirements of businesses as they undergo digital transformation.
Recently, our very own Microsoft CIO published his experience from the past two years and his experience is a great starting point for other CIOs and IT managers to start thinking about their own roles.
Jim, our “IT guy”, found he spends less time managing IT and more time working with internal business leaders and external customers. This reflects how IT is no longer just a support function but a proactive member of the strategic decisions within the company. The second key takeaway is the shift to IT services. While IT used to be about projects and applications, its view needs to be more holistic - each service offering represents all of the technology investments that support an end-to-end business process, such as product development, sales, or customer support. Investments are now focused on improving service offerings.
IT is in an interesting position – it works with all of the business processes in companies and can influence priorities and strategic direction of the company. To ensure smooth operations, IT must be transparent about its work and security to support business leaders in their decisions. The fourth key point for Jim is analytics that allows IT to see how data is flowing through systems and how people are using tools and processes. This means more focus on BI across the entire company, including IT.
So, how should IT leaders respond to these new changed realities? How can they become trusted advisors to CEOs and other business leaders? There are several options.
Plan for speed. One of the largest shifts in business is the need for flexibility and agility. While companies with established processes and markets had the luxury of waiting out change, they are now forced to move and change quickly. Rigid IT cannot help them in this.
Acquire capabilities. You no longer need to develop everything in-house. Companies should look for ways to acquire technology talent and new capabilities they need to close the digital gap. Sometimes the easiest way is to simply form a partnership with a startup or another company.
Increase customer relevancy. To stay ahead of competition, companies need to stay relevant to their customers. To achieve this, they need to improve customer experiences by focusing on design that not only serves customers but actually makes them company advocates.
Focus on stability and speed. This might be the hardest part – speed often means unreliability. However, successful digital companies will be able to respond quickly while maintaining a stable core that continues to serve customers even as new features roll out.
These are great starting steps and I am sure CIOs in Slovenia and Albania will rise to the challenges posed to them by digital transformation.