10 Steps to a Digital Transformation in the Enterprise

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-12-08
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - 10 Steps to a Digital Transformation in the Enterprise
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    10 Steps to a Digital Transformation in the Enterprise

    We outline best practices for how IT can work with the enterprise's business side to drive digital innovation and lead the required organizational changes.
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    2 - Involve the CEO
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    Involve the CEO

    According to a recent McKinsey survey, two-thirds of high-performing digital organizations say their CEOs personally sponsor digital initiatives, compared with 44 percent of their peers. Make sure your CEO is involved in crafting the organization's digital vision, as well as leading the cultural change required to transform the business successfully.
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    3 - Bring IT and Business Together
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    Bring IT and Business Together

    Some business executives may be tempted to circumvent IT in an effort to expedite new digital initiatives. However, George Westerman writes in his book "Leading Digital" that Digital Masters all work with, not around, their IT units. Regardless of who "owns" your organization's digital strategy, IT must be actively involved to ensure successful outcomes.
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    4 - Embrace Bi-modal IT
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    Embrace Bi-modal IT

    The challenge is that IT teams spend most of their resources maintaining existing systems, leaving little room to innovate. To balance these competing priorities, embrace what Gartner refers to as bi-modal IT, augmenting traditional IT services with Mode 2 capabilities. According to Gartner, nearly 40 percent of CIOs have embraced bi-modal IT, with the remainder planning to follow in the next three years. Mode 1 is traditional; Mode 2 is exploratory and non-linear, emphasizing agility and speed.
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    5 - Focus on Four P's
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    Focus on Four P's

    When implementing bi-modal IT, focus on four key aspects to develop effective Mode 2 capabilities: Portfolio: identify initiatives requiring a differentiated Mode 2 approach; People: build small, cross-functional teams that collaboratively deliver digital applications; Process: establish processes for iterative development and rapid deployment; and Platform: leverage modern cloud platforms that enable speed and agility.
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    6 - Categorize Your Application Portfolio
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    Categorize Your Application Portfolio

    Identify and prioritize your projects ideas so it's clear which ones require a differentiated approach. Initially, this means identifying the right first project to get your initiative off the ground. But as the team matures, you'll need to develop a more structured approach to your road map, including criteria for determining which projects to do when.
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    7 - Build a Small, Cross-Functional Team
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    Build a Small, Cross-Functional Team

    Build a small, cross-functional team that includes bright minds from both IT and the business. It's key to tap developers who are able to collaborate closely with end users, bridging the gap between business needs and technical possibilities. Equally important, ensure the team has the right level of executive sponsorship to be successful.
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    8 - Embrace Agile and DevOps Practices
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    Embrace Agile and DevOps Practices

    Because requirements for digital applications are fuzzy, teams must work in short, iterative cycles, breaking applications into small components, creating functionality, releasing it and iterating continually based on user feedback. As you scale your digital innovation program, establish DevOps practices in order to enable continuous delivery.
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    9 - Support People and Processes With the Right Platform
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    Support People and Processes With the Right Platform

    Adopt a cloud application platform that eliminates constraints associated with traditional development tools, delivering the speed and agility required for Mode 2 projects. Position it within your application landscape and clearly define your deployment strategy. As you mature, further accelerate productivity and maintainability through component-based development and a private app store strategy.
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    10 - Embrace a Fail-Fast, Learn-Fast Culture
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    Embrace a Fail-Fast, Learn-Fast Culture

    Spotify founder Daniel Elk said, "We aim to make mistakes faster than anyone else." Elk recognizes that innovation requires making mistakes along the way; the key is to fail fast and learn fast. To do this, you must be able to spin up experiments quickly and cheaply, test them with small audiences and have good measures in place to monitor progress.
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    11 - Evolve From Service Provider to Business Enabler
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    Evolve From Service Provider to Business Enabler

    While establishing a dedicated team is a great way to get your digital initiatives off the ground, your ultimate goal should be to create distributed innovation capabilities across your organization. This requires abandoning the traditional view of IT as a centralized function and, instead, providing the business with tools, frameworks and best practices to innovate themselves while IT maintains control.
 

We've entered the age of Digital Darwinism, where companies either evolve—by adapting to change—or perish. From 1965 to 2012, the "topple rate" at which incumbents lost leadership positions due to digital disruption increased by almost 40 percent. Many more established players are headed toward their demise if they don't successfully transform their business for the digital age. CIOs and their teams are uniquely positioned to take a strategic role in digital transformation initiatives. However, given the stakes, they cannot go it alone; IT and the business side must work together, and the CEO must be involved. What's more, the key players cannot rely on traditional tools and techniques and expect to be successful. In this eWEEK slide show, based on interviews with officials at digital innovation platform provider Mendix, we outline best practices for how IT can work with the enterprise's business side to drive digital innovation and lead the required organizational changes. The slide show illustrates where the responsibility for innovation falls in the enterprise.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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