IT RFP’s: Where is the Transformation ? – 5 Items to Consider

How often have you sat in a workshop or meeting focused on creating an IT RFP? How often have you
sat in the room with lots of expertise, with one person taking the lead and the rest of team checking
their emails and doing other work? How often have you had to review multiple documents only to be
trapped into the “fun” of tracking changes and editing content? Where is the ‘value added’ in preparing
the IT RFP? Where is the opportunity for transformation that was mentioned by your senior executive
team in the kick-off meeting?

 

Having experienced each of the above, there is a better path to follow! IT and business leadership
teams continue to be over-enamored with the definition, preparation and rollout of IT RFP’s, often
ignoring the real opportunity for transformation.

 

The IT team should be focusing on the following 5 items:

 

1. Create a one-page view of your requirements. Keep it to one page. If you are not able to clearly
state what you are seeking from a vendor, stop and go back to the drawing board. Ask
yourself why you need the 20-page powerpoint which requires that you explain its key points in
a summary slide at the end. If all you have accomplished is a restatement of what you are doing
today, rip it up and start over.

 

2. Ask the vendor what they can do. Before you start down the path of creating the IT RFP
and holding a bunch of meetings to explain what you need (and then finding out that the
vendor has something new to tell you that might change your requirements) why not do
this up front? Host a ‘speed dating’ exercise, and give each vendor one hour to tell you what
is possible, and then update your requirements. You should come back with several new
ideas for transformation opportunites as part of the IT RFP. Create the list of transformation
opportunities, rank them and move on.

 

3. Setup a small team and empower them. We all understand that lots of folks can be
involved in the IT RFP process, but only do this when they are truly needed. Depending on the scope of your RFP, identify the right leadership team and tell them they have 30 days to figure it out. Chances are, they will have an answer that is at least 80% correct.

 

4. Decide which battles to fight. What are you most concerned about? What are your
current pain points if this is a renegotiation? Savings, improved delivery, new capability , IT
transformation? All of the above? Before you get started on the RFP exercise, define the
battle plan and the key criteria for evaluation. These should be short and focused on what you need.

 

5. Decide when to stop. Very often we feel compelled keep the ball moving and realize that the
team in not doing anything new, just describing the same work with no transformation. You
need to stop the ball moving forward and ask the tough question - ‘Why are we doing this?’

 

The secret to an IT RFP that includes transformation is not in the paperwork or the documents. The
secret is taking the time to really figure out what you need and understanding how your team (both
you and the vendor) is going to be successful. If you can’t successfully do the items above, don’t
start. Hold off and start when you are going to be able to drive a successful approach!

 

IT Needs to Spend More Time Innovating

For a long time information technology (IT) has been considered the backbone of many organizations, providing back-end support and services that are necessary, but not in direct support of the customer experience.

 

Over the years, IT has evolved a strong set of disciplines focused on running the factory, developed an extensive collection of tools, methodologies and services, all of which have had little or no impact on the true customer experience. This world has quickly changed. All you need to do is go into an Apple store and watch the customers, or see what is being used while sitting on a train or in an airport, or talk to a teenager about what they like on the web in terms of useful technology. You will quickly realize that IT in the enterprise had better get it’s act together and become part of the innovation drive or they will become obsolete very soon!

 

A way to get a gauge on whether or not you are part of the innovation stream is to take an objective look at your current IT portfolio. How much of the portfolio is focused on driving efficiency and improving cost models versus working with the business customer on understanding how IT can be used to improve the interactions with the ultimate end customer?

 

We’ve worked with clients on significant strategies to drive internal IT and business transformation, streamlining organizations and onboarding new internal capability, only to find that the end
customer is still using paper forms and tedious manual processes to engage. My bet is that unless IT steps up and truly becomes part of the R&D business lifecycle, the business will move ahead without IT.

 

You may feel that you just can’t implement or innovate fast enough to meet the challenges of your business
model. Your internal team may be challenged with a lack of expertise, not enough funding, or in some cases, no clue as to what the leading technologies or innovate approaches are in the marketplace. One way to tackle this challenge and get in front of it, is to seriously engage with your IT partners at all levels.

 

Envision an RFI specifically focused on innovation using your current set of business and vendor partners. Or, look at what it would take to make each vendor contractually obligated to participate with you in a forum on a bi-annual or annual basis that is focused on innovation. Aside from engaging the vendors participate, why not sweeten the pot, and provide the incentives for everyone to participate. Think of what could happen if you were now in the “drivers seat” to define and develop new and innovative capabilities and then had the leverage to offer this to the broader marketplace!

 

To get focused on how you and your team can spend your time and focus on innovation, ask yourself a
few key questions:
  • What does the customer need from me? (Consider the “end” customer, not just your business partner.)
  • Does the current IT process model foster innovation?
  • What could be done to the IT strategy and portfolio to shift some of the focus to innovation?
  • Am I engaging the right thought leadership to realize innovation (both internal and external)?
  • What are the primary ways my company is going to innovate this year (can I name 4-5 key actions)?

 

The answers to these questions could help you and your team recognize what your current focus is around
innovation and, if necessary, reset the focus on innovation for the future!

 

The Danger with Core Competencies

How often have you sat in a meeting regarding the IT portfolio or a new strategy and the conversation quickly
turns to an opinion regarding the organization's core competencies? How many times has someone signed
up for work or taken on a project that is way beyond their capability, beyond the vendor capability and in some
cases way outside of your business model? The key is to understand an organization’s capabilities while
simultaneously remaining mindful of the danger with core competencies.

 

Most companies lack a good understanding, and in some cases, a basic knowledge of their core competencies. Although this phrase was introduced back in the late 90’s and you have probably completed several studies around core competenices in your professional career, it is still relevant in just about every IT strategy discussion. This relevance becomes more critical when you are considering options like managed service delivery or approaching some unique combination of ITO, BPO and KPO.

 

One of the dangers to avoid when identifying core competencies is to make sure the group narrows rather than
broadens the definition. When tasked with figuring out what is core, some teams will define everything they do as a competence. They may not consider whether they do a good job or if the competency is a market differentiator.

 

Being precise and focused around what you consider to be core is critical. A narrow view will help you in the long run. Narrow allows the team to focus its energy on a manageable set of compentencies around which to drive transformational change. Focusing on one or two critical processes that are essential to the business model and their supporting competencies is a great way to set priorities and charter a roadmap for successful delivery.

 

Some examples that are indicators of being in the” danger zone” of core competencies include:
  • A core competency list that includes “everything and the kitchen sink." Teams will often create a list that contains every skill or generic process utilized by the company. Watch out if it includes things that you buy rather than build, a brand item, or the competency just does not exist.
  • The competency list is not your real set of competencies. The list should include a few items and only those skills or capabilities that are integral to your current and future business model.
  • Competency definitions are pithy. When the team creates two-word examples that lack any definition, how can you explain to your customers and your internal team why these are core and ultimately why you are going to do something with them in the future?
  • Competency lists are too long. Some companies think it’s more credible to have a longer list and that this builds confidence in the business model. In reality, a long list can mislead or overstate what is really a part of the business model.
If you are not mindful of some of the pitfalls, you may be faced with the challenge that your company does not
have defined core competencies. If that happens, go back and get focused on how to define this key strategy
You may have to go back to basics in order to avoid the dangers noted above.

 

Communicating the Transformation

In addition to the tough challenge of delivering transformation successfully, we need to recognize that every successful IT or business transformation initiative has done a great job with communicating the strategy shift to their employees, business partners and vendors. You probably know the answer to what every failed
transformation project has done wrong ... they have ‘botched” or done a poor job at communicating the
transformation and its implications for the organization.
If the objective is to align delivery and behaviors with the new strategy, then the team has to provide enough details and content and consistently inform the team of the strategy and how things are going to perform differently. You need to consider and communicate much more than "change is coming" or "transformation is on the way!"
The silver bullet of effective communication does not exist. But, there are some lessons that are extremely helpful when considering how to prepare and deliver a communication strategy and content around
transformation. It’s hard to get everyone ‘on the bus,’ but let’s examine a couple of key lessons and the reality of ignoring the communication challenge:
  • Assign ownership of the communication strategy. As simple as this sounds, it often does not happen. A good plan includes a plan for communication and change management, with a named owner. My experience has been that this is often ignored or reduced when the estimates for delivery come in and then it surfaces again when the team is ready to deliver. Don’t skip this step and don’t skimp oncommunication delivery. The adage of ‘over communicate’ rings true every time!
  • Make sure the message is consistent. Some good projects get derailed when the message misses the intent of the transformation. Write the standard messages, including not just the strategy, but go ahead and create the Q&As you know will be coming throughout the life of the initiative. Better to pre-think the questions and your answers than be stuck with a tough topic and no clear answer.
  • Segment the Receivers. Figure out your audiences by breaking them into groups or roles and what their view may be. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an audience member and find out what they may need for communication. In today’s world, a video may be much better than an email distribution, so think about the media used as well!
  • Monitor results. Teams will often spend a ton of time and resources crafting the communication material and the messages, send them out, and then do nothing, assuming all is fine. Don’t get caught in the trap of hearing from someone else that your communication is not working. Put in place a pro-active feedback loop that gives you the chance to capture feedback and measure how effective the communication really is. Keep it simple.
In addition to the items above, the team delivering the transformation should consider crafting communication materials that focus on ‘what’s in it for me.' This means customizing the material and key messages to each employee, the business and vendor partners, enabling them to understand what is going to happen and the specific impact on them. Not only does this help drive a consistent message, it might just identify a problem with your strategy and delivery approach, way before you hit the wall with a troubled project. Use this feedback to gain valuable insight and make necessary course corrections.

Engaging in More Than IT Strategy

Some recent studies have examined what sets apart the best performing IT organizations and what differentiates a great CIO and team from the rest of the pack. Aside from looking at the typical resumes and stories of incredible execution and business delivery, the best performing organizations are using a variety of skills and approaches to carve out new and innovative ways to deliver results.
The best IT organization can quickly fail without the leadership and guidance of a strong team focused on driving new approaches and techniques. A tough message to the IT organization is that unless
they are open to using a variety of new skills and techniques, (in addition to the classic IT disciplines), they will not be able to meet the demands of their business partners.
Good teams have the ability to recognize the value of new approaches and leverage them for improved results. More often than not, the really great IT teams use more than just a single approach to deliver the IT strategy. One way to look at solving this issue is to examine how the team is spending their time.
  • Aside from creating and delivering IT solutions, what else is being done to become a top performing group? 
  • Does the team have a view of how each day is spent?
  • Are you spending time to creat the linkage with your business and IT partners to drive innovation and creativity?
  • Has the team thought about what could happen if you focused on standardization in order to enable creativity?
Simplifying and standardizing the core components of IT delivery will enable reuse and repeatability to increase delivery capability across the organization. Centralizing an IT infrastructure or driving a common ERP solution may seem like a Herculean task for your organization, but think about how this common solution would change how you could engage with your customer about future enhancements, after initial deployment? How quickly will you be able to deliver new capability as a result of this standardization?
Another area to consider is how easy it ist for your staff and customers to work with you. For example, do you only connect via monthly PMO meeting or project reviews? What if you did not send them the standard report, charts and graphs and simplified the communication? How about providing your customer with the three to five key metrics you think they should be looking at and eliminate the rest?
In some cases, the business partner may not be ready for more collaboration and may not want you to do more than execution (order-takers). Several prerequisites must exist for increasing IT/business collaboration. It might be wise to spend some time figuring out who is right person in the organization that understands the power of combining delivery and strategic change.
You may be struggling with an organization that does not understand what the objectives are and what to do when faced with a change in business direction. A simple way to start the discussion may be to create a joint effort to define a couple of Improvement efforts that together you could collaborate on, prioritize, and deliver quickly.
Any of these techniques could be helpful to grow the partnership between IT and business. Your customer expects you to do more than just execute. You must demonstrate that you provide value added services continuously. This means engaging frequently, more than just around the IT strategy.

IT Needs to Speed Things Up

One the first critiques that comes from interviewing a new customer or client is often the perception of how slow IT has been in delivering new functionality. Business customers and IT leaders are quick to point out a recent failure, delay in delivery or a project that has taken way too long to deliver and missed their expectations. The business partner has become impatient.
Consequently, the speed at which IT is delivering and is impacting business results cannot continue.
IT needs to step up to the challenge of speeding up delivery of solutions. IT needs to step out of its comfort zone of technical jargon, methodologies, and program delivery, and realize that business expectations have changed.
How often have you been in a meeting where the business is asking for something in 90 days or less and IT can only come back and deliver in six months (or more)? How often has IT gotten in the way of a business solution, by pushing back the timeframe for delivery and then deliverying a mediocre solution? Either IT gets in front and helps to quickly drive a solution for its business partner, or the partner will quickly turn to someone else to deliver what they need.
Instead of becoming the victim in this scenario, how about trying a couple of techniques? Who knows, they may work with your business partner and your IT Team to create a new model for delivery. Some items to consider include:
  • Accelerate development: Instead of long term projects, try shorter iterative projects. According to the Corporate Executive Board, more than 45% of projects today are labeled as ‘information projects,’ such as collaboration or customer facing websites. These can be delivered quickly by deploying functionality as it becomes available.
  • Identify the roadblocks to speed and challenge them: Several repeatable items can get in the way of speeding up a project and can be addressed proactively:
Delivery Team – Make sure you have the right team and enough resources. Why not ramp up the resources and reduce the time for delivery? Adding more help at the onset of creating the capability or seeking a true expert can make a significant difference. And it could give the business the competitive advantage they are seeking.
Governance – How can you expect a large governance program to deal with a project that needs to move fast? How flexible is your approach to drive a balance between speed and quality of delivery? You need the data on delivery, but be sure to also focus on transparency and the trade-offs that come with speed.
Security – Take a hard look at what a delay in delivery could mean and how it might impact the business. Aside from doing the key requirements for security, could the team adopt the approach of resolving issues as the capability is rolled out? What is the real risk and is it worth the gamble? What about test driven development? And continuous build testing? Can these approaches effectively reduce time without compromising quality?
Speed to market should be a core IT strategy. The importance of delivering results with speed and flexibility will drive operational models. IT leadership should be looking at what it will take to reduce the time it takes to deliver results and continusously measure time to deliver.

Collaboration and Social Media – Delivering Results

Collaboration and Social Media can become powerful assets in the IT arsenal to deliver business results. Social computing presents opportunities for IT to promote and support connections, both inside the organization - through technologies such as SharePoint, Jive, Yammer, wiki’s, blogs - and with external partners and customers through the use of online social media tools - LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.

 

The truth is that many companies struggle with where to start with social media and how to move forward. While you may perceive potential value in social media initiatives and pursue those initiatives accordingly, deriving that value and delivering results requires changes to how IT has been approached in the past. IT needs to consider moving away from conventional IT management approaches in several areas.

 

The key areas that will challenge organizations and need to be considered when initiating a focus on collaboration and social media include:
  • Unclear ROI — The business case for social computing typically breaks down because of the unclear nature of how and where social computing will deliver value and how the results will be recognized and measured. This is reminiscent of the history of determining an ROI for email. At that time, email was deployed with limited or no ROI.
  • Availability of Opportunity — The reality is that business units can often identify and exploit social media opportunities before IT. IT needs to sharpen it’s focus, become more aware of how the business partner views each opportunity and gather those requirements so that they are part of the solution.
  • Magnified Risk — Social media diminishes corporate perimeters and controls for information exchange, so organizations must “get over it" and determine a risk profile for social media (more on that later).
  • Consumer Technology Options — Business users may select technologies to connect and collaborate, which may not be corporate-controlled. The organization needs to determine its policies on technologies outside of its control.
  • Rapid Change — Velocity and complexity of social technologies outpace IT's roadmapping capabilities. To remain relevant in the social media conversation, IT organizations often rely on technology-centric "supply push" strategies, when instead they need to quickly understand and respond to "demand pull" from their end users.
Successful delivery of collaboration and social media solutions depend on four user-centric factors:
  1. Understand technology fit with end-user workflows and behavior. You need to map these out and create a view of the future. For example, IT teams are now adding visualization software to the agile process of development so that developers and business customers have a clearer picture of what will be delivered.
  2. Drive use by communicating tangible end-user benefits that can be directly connected to clear business metrics and outcomes (e.g. time saved). 
  3. Apply a risk framework that can evolve and improve as social media changes – set up 2-3 risk factors that will frame the focus on risk.
  4. Collaborate – as silly as this sounds, spend the time to collaborate with your business customer on a solution that will deliver results! Leverage proof of concept and pilots, as well as asking the business customer to come back with examples of functionality that may already be available and used by public social media groups today.
All of the above items need to considered, giving you the runway to avoid the pitfalls experienced by many social media projects.

Program Management

What’s the worst program management you’ve ever experienced? Chances are, we can all tell a few tales. Who hasn’t witnessed some pretty interesting program management teams or, unfortunately, some horrible events? If you have experienced any of the following scenarios, you might be in the running for experiencing the worst program management ever:

  • The program management approach is failing miserably, not able to drive a program or meet a target;
  • Everyone on the program management team is looking out for their own interests, not the goals of the program; and/or
  • One or several of the program management team members are not carrying their weight, causing the rest of team to rise up in disgust, give lackluster support to the program or display a host of bad behaviors (take your choice).

You have an option to either participate in any of the above, continue to drive down the program,  or recognize that help is needed and be part of the team that  positively turns around the approach.  Successful program management is tough. The really great program management teams and methods I’ve been a part of all displayed some common characteristics:

  • A strong executive sponsor or set of sponsors. These folks are not just names on a chart; they take a proactive interest in making the program successful.
  • A strong team. The team is not just technically strong, but is actually a team that helps each other and continues to move the ball forward.  Egos are left at the door and everyone pitches in.
  • The team starts to have fun. It’s really hard at the onset of a serious program to even think of having fun! As soon as the team starts to enjoy the program, the team will shift. This may mean that initially the program has to hit a few tough roadblocks, which they can resolve and learn from in order to grow and start to have fun … but it is possible.
  • The team gets rid of deadwood. This doesn’t always mean resources. It may mean that the program plan is not realistic. It may mean that the team is measuring too many metrics and there are only a handful of metrics that really make sense. The team can quickly determine what is valuable and what is just overhead.
  • The team purposefully establishes a charter for success. Good teams realize that success is not just critical to maintaining the momentum of the program, but that communication and change management around success needs to be defined, mapped out and systematically used to keep the program moving forward. It’s not just about meeting your delivery roadmap, it’s about creating the positive buzz that this program is successful and is a good model for the future.

Program management certifications, plans and models are everywhere.  A team should be able to get project management expertise into the group and set up a model that is best-in-class. But aside from the setup of the program management model and the delivery plan, consider some of the items above and see if they apply.  Ask yourself, the key leads, and maybe some key team members for their view on the topics above.  You may find out that you get some great feedback, and that through this feedback, you are building a stronger program management approach! 

Managed Services

Why are we so enamored with the term ‘Managed Services?’ Although the term itself conjures up great visions like

- Once and for all resolving my issues with the IT organization, 

- Moving to a service-based or utility-based model, or

- Letting someone else deal with the headaches of delivery, while I (and my team) can focus on what the business really needs …..

... we should be aware that our daydreaming needs a dose of reality.

Any of these visions are great and would be a wonderful case study for others to envy, but let’s get real. The reality is that very few organizations take the time to really figure out what they need and what the market can deliver before embarking on the journey to deliver managed services. We are fascinated with the term, thinking it will be as simple as turning on/off a light switch. We fail to remember everything that went into making that light switch work to begin with and what makes it continue to work well. Instead of getting caught up in the lore of ‘managed services,' take the time to figure out what you need in order to bring managed services into your environment.  There are some great successes and some equally great failures. Try a couple of these techniques and see what happens:

 

  • Look at what is happening in your industry with managed services. How many of your peers are using managed services to deliver competitive capability? For example, you may have a hot new internal development project underway with a two-year window for delivery. Check on your competitors; chances are they are delivering it in six months, leveraging a vendor to build and maintain the new capability and even to run the infrastructure. Better to find this out sooner than realize what you are delivering is outdated.
  • Look at what you can get rid off.  Take some time to seriously look at your portfolio of applications with a new set of eyes. Can you ignore the internal architecture team’s position of ‘buy, hold, sell’ regarding your internal technical architecture? Ask yourself, why do I need any of this? Can a vendor take any of this, start running it and then help me move to a new architecture or delivery model? 
  • Consider waiting until the market can deliver a managed service in your specific industry. Chances are, you may have something that the market is only starting to look at and build a capability.  It’s only a matter of time until someone in the market figures out how to lower the total cost of ownership and enhance the technical capability. You could choose to wait it out or you could choose to devote some resources to creating the new capability with a strong partner. The deciding factor may hinge on competitive advantage, as well as the risk that you will assume with the approach.

 

The techniques and approaches for managed services are currently evolving. There will be more to come as this area evolves. We will continue to be enchanted with the topic of ‘managed services' - hopefully moving away from that first blush of fascination to the reality of the work required for successful market delivery.

 

Ensuring IT and Business Transformation Success

Why do most IT and Business Transformation projects fail? IT and Business Transformation projects often fail for the same key reasons, namely; 

  • Not being realistic as to what can be accomplished;
  • Putting the wrong leadership and team in place;
  • Not knowing how to avoid the ‘big bang’ of delivery.

Without having the ability to recognize and resolve these issues, you are probably doomed for failure. Instead of walking into this trap, here are a few techniques you can try to help you and your team be more successful.

Failure Premise – Not being realistic in terms of what can be accomplished

What are you really trying to do? Has anyone done this before? To be more realistic, take a look at whether or not your overall plan makes sense: Are you taking some  key initial steps, like piloting and prototyping your solutions before going for the ‘big bang?'  Look at each item of delivery and define what the criteria are for success. If you don’t have a plan, or can’t figure out a plan, how will you know what can be really be accomplished? Each item in the plan should have a simple measure that will tell a powerful success story.

Failure Premise – Putting the wrong leadership and team in place 

How often have we sat in meetings and said to ourselves, this leader is not getting it or this team is doomed?  This happens more often than any of us want to admit. IT and Transformation projects will often get trapped in the depths of detailing the leadership team, the working team and the time commitment of each person. This is often a cover-up, knowing the right person for the project is probably not available or can only give you 25% of their time, so the team has to juggle the rest. If you find yourself caught in this situation and you are not getting the right people to either lead or become part of the team, STOP the initiative! Don’t move forward until you can get the right people in place. And make sure you are applying this rule to the WHOLE team, meaning your leadership, the vendor leadership, the IT leadership, the business leadership and any other vested group that plays a role.

Failure Premise  Not knowing how to avoid the ‘big bang’ of delivery

If you are sitting in the planning or team meeting and someone puts on the table that they are going to go live and do it all at once or in a ‘big bang’ approach, alarms should be going off in your head. Having been burnt on this topic several times, get real and start raising questions that will get your team on a successful track. 

Transformation projects are not about big bang. They are about the ability of the projects to drive change that is transforming on many levels. In some cases, you and your team may not even have a clue of what the actual results will be one to two years after you 'go live.' Why not get in front of this and create your own destiny, roll things out in smaller batches of delivery, use a trusted partner to help you test and prove what you are doing before rolling it out to the larger organization?  Plan for failure in a pro-active way that will allow the team to learn from the events and move forward, rather than experiencing a ‘big bang’ failure and not being able to recover and move forward.  Manage the risk profile so that you can get the best from the real capabilities of your team.

IT Transformation …

... empty technology buzzwords or a concept that describes the evolution of technology as it relates to business and commerce? 

Twenty years ago we used the phrases, “change agent” or “organizational change,” but these were attributed to change that emanated from the business side of a corporation, and had very little to do with technology. Technology was moving so rapidly that when we used the acronym “IT,” it was synonymous with change. So it is not surprising that a business enabler like technology, with a rich history for acronyms and evolving its own language (PC, IT, CMMI, ITIL, B2B) would create its own phrase for change.
 
Does IT Transformation …
  • Merely refer to cost cutting and leveraging the labor arbitrage so readily available in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe?  
  •  Entail the recreation of IT to drive value with the rich set of information tools that are now readily available?
  • Involve the innovation required to help change the culture and competitive nature of a business? 
  • Relate to the ongoing need to refresh computing platforms to deliver services in a more efficient and effective manner, or refresh the portfolio of applications with a more integrated, feature-rich set?
In the past, many CIOs have been seen as change agents within the business organization. Now that IT has been in place for more than 30 years in many corporations, it is of paramount importance that CIOs step back and assess their own organizations, and become change agents within IT. CIOs must periodically review and revamp their service offerings and processes to align with business needs and evolving technologies.
 
Is IT Transformation, then, a set of strategies that the CIO can implement over a period of time, or is it more than that?  Does it require changing the way the IT organization functions? Is it a cultural move from the “order-taker” mentality to a group that engages with its business partners to understand and fulfill a technology need, while simultaneously driving innovation and business growth?  It seems that this multiplicity of purpose is what hinders most IT organizations from “transforming,” as most CIOs find it difficult to articulate their vision and the journey required to change the role of IT in an organization.
 
In order to understand IT Transformation, what does that end state look like … and what roles should a business expect the IT organization to play? CIOs must become more strategic, be willing to take a risk, and align with the business, while constantly searching for technology innovations that will significantly improve the competitive nature of their business partners.
 
CIOs need to become the internal technology consultants who can apply the best technologies available to the most pressing business challenges. Their efforts need to balance the needs of their internal business customers with the need to effectively run existing IT operations, while identifying the next technology opportunity … quite a balancing act. What this requires is a savvy CIO who applies IT transformation only to those areas that matter strategically to the business, not to the areas where IT is most comfortable, namely in the technology realm.
The truth is, IT Transformation is not an empty technology trend, or a concept that describes the evolution of technology as it relates to business and commerce. Delivering results with IT Transformation means:
  • Partnering with the business;
  • Synchronizing business goals;
  • Assuring alignment with the business; and
  • Offering true value to the strategic discussions.

These are all aspects of IT Transformation that are required on an on-going basis if the IT organization is to continue to have a voice in the value-creation of any business entity and keep enterprises competitive.