Digital Transformation and IT Transformation: Beyond Automation

Digital Transformation presents a challenge for many traditional organisations because the nature of the change goes beyond our traditional focus on using technology to better automate the tasks of the organisation. The opportunity in digital transformation is to fundamentally reshape the business model of the organisation, its customer propositions, and structure. The ongoing transformation of IT reflects efforts to better leverage digital technology to reshape the nature of the organisation and its business models.

Digital Starts with the Customer. So Must IT Transformation

Digital businesses start with a narrow focus on meeting a customer need. This is at the core of the concept of a Minimum Viable Product. To do this, they must be clear on what customer they are serving and having a specific need in mind. That takes research and experimentation. Importantly, delivering a product is not enough, they need to test their solutions for fitness to the customer and see the customer through to success. Traditionally IT organisations were focus on design, build, and management of a technology solution. Now the challenge is design, build and delivery of an ongoing service to users to support the needs of a rapidly evolving digital business.

Digital Manages Whole Experiences. So Must IT Transformation

These days the demands of a Digital business go far beyond the interactions that occur over the internet. Achieving a seamless digital service to meet a customer need demands that a business rethink its entire system and connect that whole system in service of the customer proposition. The biggest transformation opportunities are when people are able to leverage digital technologies to transform the entire system in better service of the customer proposition. Traditional IT was able to be structure along the siloed and functional lines of a traditional business.  In a digital era, IT needs to be able to manage the entire system to manage the experience, change solutions as demanded by the system needs and each individual IT function needs to keep the experience goals front at centre.

Digital Learns. So Must IT Transformation

We no longer operate in stable markets with predictable competitive dynamics. Digital transformation is enabling organisations to learn faster and move with greater agility on the opportunities identified. Data analytics has opened transparency to new insights on our customers, our employees, our systems, and our processes. Experimentation offers new ways to make decisions and resolve ambiguity in the organisation. The IT organisation needs to transform itself and its teams into rapid learners. There is no one perfect and universal model. Different customer needs and value propositions will drive changing structure and technology solutions as the organisation learns best how to respond.

Digital drives Radical Strategic Change. So Must IT Transformation

At the core of these themes is that digital transformation is pushing businesses to seek radical strategic change. The opportunity is not incrementalism. Digital transformation offers opportunities to radically change cost, delivery models, develop new value creation and scale to global markets. IT Transformation must enable the IT Organisation to lead and support this radical shift in the business strategy driven by digital. This change won’t be easy and places new demands across the IT Organisation. No one strategy will solve the challenges placed on the IT Organisation. However, focusing the IT Organisation as change agents of a radical strategic change and supporting the teams with the business, relationship and change skills to lead this work is a place to start.

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