Don't wag the dog, lead with strategy

Don’t Wag the Dog: Digital Transformation Starts with Company Strategy

Today, headlines about digital transformation dominate blogs and journals. IT leaders feel that they should have already started their organization’s transition into the digital age. But the amount of buzz around this trend shouldn’t force you into a hasty decision.

For years you’ve been told to avoid technology for technology’s sake – yet the same trap is catching CIOs pushing for digital transformation because everyone else is doing it. Like any IT initiative, digital transformation only makes sense if it supports your organization’s overall strategy.

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Risk-taking

The Risk-Taker CIO Paradox

Leadership requires taking risks. But technology must work reliably. How do IT leaders square these two realities?

CIOs are driving organizational strategies now more than ever. The more a CIO’s success is tied to business outcomes, the more risk they assume. Traditionally, CIOs have been responsible for KPIs like uptime and system availability to support internal productivity and operational efficiency. But suddenly—now that all industries are becoming digital—there is much more at stake.

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Executive Field Guide: IT Governance

There are dozens of definitions for “IT governance” out there. They use words like efficiency, effectiveness, alignment, control, and strategy—which are all valid terms. But the fact is, IT has only so much capacity and can get only so much done. Organizations need a mechanism for agreeing to what is (and what is not) on IT’s plate. That mechanism is IT governance.

The purpose of IT governance is to optimize IT’s workload.

Like most things, the more effort you put into governance, the more you will get out of it. However, IT stakeholders usually have their own areas of responsibility and limited capacity.

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Finding the Right Champion for Change

Change is HARD. As a matter of fact, I often say “technology is easy, but people are hard.” You can guess the reaction I get from technology-focused individuals when I make this statement. For an organization to grow, be successful, compete, and embrace technology and new processes, change is required.

There are many excuses given for why IT fails to focus on driving change in their organization and across the enterprise? Here are just a few:

  1. Change is not my job. I am here to deliver technology, not drive change in the enterprise.
  2. Change is opaque. People are not binary. They have feelings, opinions, and agendas. I do not know how to alter things like mindsets.
  3. Change is hard to quantify. I can’t tell if change is happening or if I’m making progress toward a desired end state.

Yes, change is hard and often overlooked by IT organizations. But it is required for technology and process adoption and therefore requires dedication in the form of a champion.

Change without a champion is likely to fail.

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Executive Field Guide: The IT Strategy Map

As with most things in life, it is much easier to start with a template than with a blank piece of paper. A template serves as a set of ideas you can add to, change, or delete to produce a custom product.

IT strategy maps are no exception. What makes IT strategies different from one another is the magnitude of importance an organization places on various objectives. For some, cybersecurity may be the highest priority. Some emphasize productivity. Still others put digital transformation at the top of the list. Nonetheless, 80% of IT strategies that I have seen in my career are quite close to the model outlined below.

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agile adoption - changing shapes

How Amica Reshaped Its IT Processes: An Agile Adoption Case Study

Rhode Island-based Amica Insurance provides auto, home and life insurance nationwide and employs more than 3,800 people in 44 offices across the U.S.

Amica was looking to upgrade its web and mobile applications. To reach its goal, the IT team established a digital program and decided to pilot an Agile SDLC framework for rapid and iterative delivery of customer value.

The Agile implementation worked for Amica because the organization from top to bottom accepted a bit of discomfort in the short-term to give the change effort a chance. Management agreed to support decisions made on the front line. Product owners, SMEs, and developers were game to try new approaches and grew professionally. In return, they achieved a level of productivity and speed they had not seen before. Here’s how we helped.

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VIDEO Cascading IT Governane

Cascading IT Governance

We believe the only way for an IT governance function to affect the execution of a strategy is to cascade the governance function. When middle management from IT and the business participate in governance, great things happen.

Watch this video to learn how we do it:

(Did you enjoy the video? Consider subscribing to our YouTube channel.)

tweet-graphic-transTweet: Cascading #ITGovernance
[VIDEO] @mpapov http://ctt.ec/55T0U+

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How to Craft an Effective E-Commerce Strategy

U.S. e-commerce is expected to reach about $434.2 billion in 2017, and continue to grow at a rate of 14% over the next 4 years. The key to being a part of this growth is having an effective e-commerce strategy in place.

To be effective, an e-commerce strategy should be part of an organization’s overall strategy. This seems obvious enough, but rarely is it the case. Organizational dynamics often get in the way.

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