Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 25 - Page 86

“ FINAL WORD BEFORE YOU START MAKING TECHNOLOGY CHOICES, CONSIDER YOUR CURRENT IT ESTATE CAREFULLY AND MAP OUT BOTH CURRENT AND IDEAL FUTURE STATES FOR CORE INFRASTRUCTURE AND APPLICATIONS. organisation specific. International Data Corporation (IDC) has created a helpful digital scorecard for CIOs thinking about how to best fashion their KPIs. With shared understanding as a goal, your metrics need to interest and engage your organisation’s leadership team. They also need to reflect the fact that Digital Transformation is a long-term programme. Find the right partners to have the ‘digital savvy’ leaders, but they also need to build relevant talent and skill- sets throughout their organisations. Looking at the bigger picture also requires a willingness to learn lessons from those who report success, to ensure that Digital Transformations do not ‘fall short in improving performance and equipping companies to sustain changes’. This has happened to many a digital project as, for example, an organisation has been unable to sufficiently update entrenched, analogue business processes to support a whizzy new digital customer interface. Understand your broader business environment Businesses need to identify external pressures and challenges covering key areas such as their markets, processes, regulatory environment, competition and supplier and customer ecosystems. Time and effort should be put into researching where to invest and how Digital Transformation strategies are being applied in relevant businesses and industries. This underlines the need to focus Digital Transformation more broadly than tech procurement because, as Gartner argues, ‘the non-technological aspects, if not addressed, can mask the depth of organisational transformation required and become serious inhibitors.’ Industry inertia, for example, can lead to the failure of Digital Transformation projects. You might have a shiny new customer-facing process, but if it relies on a partner who can’t support digitally transacting in this way, it will never achieve its promise. Consider your technology options Often IT departments don’t have the skillset or time to develop a comprehensive 86 INTELLIGENTCIO roadmap for change and transformation. Add to this the bewildering choice of technology providers out there pushing the Digital Transformation message and the resulting complexity of a Digital Transformation project ‘can be a killer’. Before you start making technology choices, consider your current IT estate carefully and map out both current and ideal future states for core infrastructure and applications. There are important decisions to be made about legacy business applications and this map will help you to research the options for modernisation. There is a lot of noise in the industry about being ‘cloud-first’ and for many, the idea is to plan for everything eventually being in the cloud. However, it’s worth noting that it is not the only option for legacy applications and some of the first movers into the cloud have not seen the cost and performance benefits they planned for. Set performance measures Few, if any, organisations will be able to make the Digital Transformation journey alone, so tech partnerships can ensure your approach is future-proof and flexible to adapt with changing demand and technology. Look for partners who, in Forrester’s words, can ‘define Digital Transformation’. The right partners should be able to demonstrate an understanding of your business, markets, competitive pressures and opportunities. When you’ve started narrowing down your options, ask for evidence that they can successfully apply technology to deliver genuine transformative change. Otherwise, you risk missing the target by simply moving from one set of technology vendors and service providers to another, without addressing your wider objectives. Digital Transformation brings with it a broad spectrum of risk and reward. Wherever you are on the journey, if you’re establishing and evaluating objectives, progress, challenges and benefits, it can pay huge dividends. n KPIs offer IT leaders the chance to set a shared understanding of Digital Transformation within the business and maintain an ongoing dialogue. The temptation is to evolve existing IT-focused metrics, but with an objective as broad as business transformation there is a good case for starting again. Consider what it means to your organisation to be a digital business; can you demonstrate and measure the impact on customers, speed of operations, data exploitation and the rate of innovation? There are many Digital Transformation KPI lists available on the Internet, but this is another temptation best avoided. Your KPIs need to be both industry specific and Tom Needs, COO, Node4 www.intelligentcio.com