IT as a catalyst for business transformation: Strategies for CIOs

Immediately’s CIOs have a pivotal alternative to assist their organizations meet new expectations. But, as organizations rework, CIOs and their groups are being requested to handle the optimum mixture of infrastructure, platform, software program, database, storage, and extra to fulfill these new strategic aims—whereas additionally creating sustained worth and positioning the group for the longer term.  

The problem? Digital transformation itself is advancing quickly. In my work with industry-leading CIOs who assist their organizations rework, I see 4 ways in which IT leaders might help their corporations rework:

1. The seller panorama is crowding as suppliers enter the transformation house with new choices

Organizations are bombarded with myriad selections for migrating IT operations and infrastructure to the cloud. The place the widespread adoption of SaaS beforehand distributed IT and lines-of-business chosen and applied their very own functions, the pendulum is now shifting again with CIOs pursuing large-scale transformations to drive worth and re-centralize operations. As a part of this course of they’re evaluating a broad vary of “as a service” choices from a number of outsourced suppliers and cloud distributors. 

Enterprise software distributors similar to Oracle and SAP now have cloud infrastructure choices that rival these of Google, AWS, and Microsoft Azure. So it’s much more tough for CIOs to check and choose cloud providers along with executing on bigger transformation aims. On the upside, extra competitors invitations extra innovation alternatives and might translate into higher worth.

My recommendation: Be proactive. Enterprises have to outline a holistic technique for cloud enablement and on this, there could also be a number of cloud options (e.g., hyperscale, non-public cloud). Most significantly, IT leaders ought to outline the cloud structure and put the answer in place for the enterprise stakeholders to leverage, in any other case they danger every stakeholder creating their very own cloud infrastructure making for a fragmented setting that’s tough to handle, safe, and optimize.

2. Distributed work is the brand new regular—requiring new safety and repair supply boundaries

The standard workplace setting could by no means return to its pre-pandemic state, and the anticipated continuation of distant work and contingent work would require elevated consideration to knowledge safety throughout a number of endpoints—together with scrutiny round the place knowledge is positioned and the way it’s being transmitted. 

With a extra broadly distributed workforce, what does optimum bodily and cyber safety appear like? How can IT groups handle a number of gadgets, hold them patched, and guarantee they’re compliant with vendor licenses and safety insurance policies? Many CIOs (and CISOs) are reviewing methods like unified endpoint administration and the cloud-based functions that enable them to find and co-manage their conventional and trendy gadgets. 

Information safety and compliance tackle new that means with a distributed workforce and cloud knowledge storage/retrieval. CIOs should perceive the place all knowledge is saved and the place every employee is positioned. Is knowledge touring to nations the place it shouldn’t? How does that have an effect on a corporation’s compliance with knowledge privateness laws, similar to GDPR? And, how does it have an effect on the permitted mobility of workers?

My recommendation: Because the enterprise decides the way it will enable workers to work sooner or later, now could be the time for CIOs to proactively outline every situation and its IT implications for the enterprise, together with how and the place to permit workers to work. This is a chance to make sure strong and compliant safety plans are in place.  

3. Automating automation—it’s fertile floor

Enterprise transformation has sometimes centered on automating guide processes, and there are nonetheless good points to be made on this space. However the newest development to observe is meta-automation—basically automating the method to search for locations to automate. 

Now that many enterprise processes are carried out utilizing enterprise functions, expertise instruments and knowledge analytics can provide an in depth view of workflows and course of steps. Browser extensions can monitor and file keystrokes to assist decide how workers use functions, and automatic evaluation can uncover new course of areas to streamline and standardize. 

My recommendation: As CIOs search for extra methods to drive worth and uncover efficiencies, they need to leverage instruments already in use and managed by IT similar to browser extensions, Microsoft Outlook analytics, and others. Plus, the IT group itself might be fertile floor for automation. For this reason many groups have adopted software program instruments that streamline DevOps and steady integration/steady growth (CI/CD) workflows, together with functions that automate infrastructure and database monitoring.  

Along with their very own efforts, some organizations flip to service suppliers to information and conduct transformation actions. Others have taken a “middle of excellence” strategy, both independently or with the help of a service supplier. Right here, automation and transformation ideas are prioritized with an inside staff devoted to steady enchancment of enterprise processes. 

4. The RFP will not be lifeless—in actual fact, it’s extra necessary than ever

Organizations that engage IT service providers to help or enact their transformation initiatives could battle to articulate precisely what they search to perform. And, with so many service suppliers and cloud distributors to select from, it might be tempting to begin evaluating them with out a clear mandate. Organizations wanting to see outcomes could shortchange the planning section.

For this reason the RFP course of is so essential, and admittedly, indispensable. Enterprises are on the lookout for a holistic suite of providers that transcend system implementation, software upkeep, and infrastructure design to those who span transformation technique, cloud migration, cybersecurity, and automation.  

My recommendation: Growing an RFP permits enterprise and IT leaders to look at their present setting, state their objectives, and supply detailed necessities that align with organizational technique. Responding to a well-structured RFP offers distributors the chance to distinguish themselves by demonstrating that they perceive the group’s distinctive wants and have certified options to deal with them. Regardless of some predictions that the RFP will disappear, it’ll really tackle a bigger function in sourcing and evaluating transformation service suppliers. 

The underside line

Whereas there are dangers related to any large-scale enterprise endeavor, the advantages of endeavor enterprise transformation far outweigh them. CIOs are on the vanguard of those efforts as digital transformations have the potential to drive vital enterprise worth throughout your complete enterprise.

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