Digital IT Function Transformation for Getting Back to Business

Author: Dr Terri Simpkin, Associate at Portman Partners

Before Covid-19, most of the discussions we were having with business leaders centred around digital disruption and how technology adoption was increasing year on year as depicted in the diagram below:

Image Source: Innovative Quality Solutions, 2020

Digital Business transformation:

Technology is changing very rapidly, and those changes seem to be accelerated due to the impact of CovId-19.

Behavioural transformation:

Organisations absorb these changes at a much slower pace.

It takes time for people to alter their thinking, ways of working and unlearning to adopt new behaviours. With groups of people, where there are existing structures, processes, incentives, and cultural momentum, it takes even more effort to turn the ship. The larger the group, the higher the institutional cultural change required.

While digital business transformation is the process of re-inventing your business model, it must be enabled by technology innovation to differentiate product/service offerings in the post-COVID-era. Organisations should look to reset that gap between technological change and organisational change.

Our experience working with clients across sectors has shown us that cultivating a high performing agile organisation requires 6 key elements:

1. Organisational Design

2. Organisational Culture

3. People Engagement

4. Ways of Working

5. Management & Leadership

6. Governance & Funding

It is key to get the organisational design, culture, vision, strategy, and structure right, and to ensure that management and leadership are passionate about this. Then we need to get the people engagement right to bring about the changes. The ways of working, from agile to DevOps, to product backlog management, ensures products and services are delivered in a lean, agile way. There will then need to be some level of governance and funding to support this.

These conversations will continue, but we also now need to be thinking about how we are going to realign our business models.

mage Source: Innovative Quality Solutions 2020

Digital is about re-inventing your business model; thinking about what your strategy and vision are, and then thinking about the future competencies and capabilities that will allow you to achieve your goals.

Covid-19 has accelerated the pace of change on top of the digital disruption that we were already seeing. In the events industry, we have seen a move to hybrid events, where marketing and sales staff are creating digital content at a faster pace to service online streaming events. We have also seen IT departments rapidly transform to allow staff to work remotely.

“The battleground has become about how you can re-invent your business model to enhance customer experience and/or aid efficiency – Technology can act as a source of competitive advantage/differentiation for organisations and institutions.”

Image Source: Innovative Quality Solutions, 2020

All of these digital/technology trends have an impact on and put pressure on your business, so we need to make sure IT functions are fit for purpose to meet the business strategy and enable customer experience.

Image Source: Innovative Quality Solutions, 2020

As we transform our IT departments, so they align with the digital and business strategy, we need to understand the technology trends that are now here or emerging. There will be pressures around budget shortfalls, so we need to invest wisely in the right technology in an innovative and agile way.

IT Maturity Model (ITMM) & 4 Pillars for Transformation

This is a framework that we have developed over the years that looks at a number of dimensions of strategy, structure, process, people, capabilities, and technology (applications and infrastructure) and data. There are a number of levels of maturity from being IT-centric to being operationally focused, to being an integrated business driver providing IT and business excellence.