April 21, 2017
5 Key Objectives for IT and Business in Digital Transformation
by Katie Lenahan | Director of Marketing | @katieoncloud
Never before have the lines between business and IT been more blurred than in this new(-ish) era of cloud. Aside from the fact that business leaders across all functions are way more tech savvy, cloud makes technology services very easy to access, a fact that presents both pros and cons from a business perspective.
Traditionally IT used to play more of a gatekeeper role, deciding which services were to be given higher priority or more resources – or simply executing on mandates delivered by someone further up the food chain. This inherently caused friction in organizations as line of business (LOB) owners struggled to achieve their business objectives without fast access to the technology services they needed to do so.
Cloud changes all of that. The rapid pace of innovation is creating a competitive environment that makes a small startup able to compete head-to-head with behemoth Fortune 500 companies. Business leaders can’t wait for long procurement and provisioning cycles anymore – they need what they need when they need it – or they’ll go to the cloud and get it themselves. In fact, in RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud survey, 41 percent of respondents from the BUs stated that they are ‘less likely to delegate authority to central IT for selecting public clouds.’ Similar numbers hold true for deciding which apps should move to the cloud. But what is the risk in making what are clearly very technical decisions without the technical expertise of IT?
In this age of digital transformation, it’s more important than ever for the ‘front of the house’ – the outbound, customer-focused LOB owners – to work in tandem with the ‘back of the house’ – the IT department running the engine. It requires a culture shift – an examination of how digital is transforming the traditional roles and responsibilities of the whole house, such that the LOB owners and IT teams can work together to achieve the common goals of the business.
LOB (‘Front House’) Objectives:
- Improve Customer Experience.
The #1 priority for every business should be attracting and retaining customers. Today’s digital world presents an overwhelming number of ways to engage with your customers – mobile apps, social media, personalized content, interactive media. Organizations must adopt technology to better understand and engage with their customers. In a recent Forbes article, Daniel Newman says that “every touch point matters, and those leading the transformation should constantly be asking how are we removing friction and enhancing the experience for every customer regardless of where they are in the journey.”
- Transform Business Processes.
Removing friction doesn’t only apply to your customers, it applies to your business. Anywhere you can remove friction, you reduce cost and improve opportunities to gain competitive advantage. Cloud provides an agile platform for technology innovation, allowing organizations to adopt technology solutions quickly – and de-adopt just as fast if they don’t work out. It’s a “learn fast, learn often” mentality.
IT (‘Back House’) Objectives:
- Optimize infrastructure and operations.
More and more, it’s up to the LOB owners to decide which digital services meet the needs of their respective businesses but ultimately it’s the job of IT to figure out how to deploy those services, integrate with existing technologies, enforce security measures, and continually optimize usage and costs. While agility is a fabulous thing, agility without planning can be disastrous. Without the coordination between IT and LOBs, what could have been a stellar website launch or supply chain integration may fail miserably without the right services and security in place to support them.
- Simplify cloud services
It may be easy to purchase cloud services, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for the business users to understand and manage what they’re buying. It is IT’s role to bridge the gap between the business need and the technology requirements, ensuring that the right services are being procured at the right cost. Reducing friction is again the name of the game. Centralizing – and simplifying – cloud services will ensure that the business moves faster, smarter, and with greater visibility and control.
The ‘Whole House’ Objectives:
- Utilize analytics.
While cloud is the great enabler, it comes at a cost…by the hour, by the gigabyte, or maybe by the user. Whatever the consumption meter is, you pay for what you use and oftentimes you’re using more than you think. Organizations need analytics to ensure that decision makers have the right reports and insights to manage their cloud spend and ensure that their technology investments are in line with business outcomes. Likewise, analytics are essential for IT to properly optimize cloud services, eliminate waste and improve application performance. So make sure both the front house and the back house have shared analytics and metrics to confidently navigate through its digital transformation.
To learn more about the role that cloud analytics play in Digital Transformation, watch our 2-part on-demand webcast series. How IT Ops and Business Leaders Optimize Technology Services and How IT and Finance Control Costs in the Cloud.
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