It is relatively common to hear the term ‘Business Transformation’ in today’s market, but what does that mean and how does it relate to your business? When I discuss this concept with clients it is interesting to me to hear different viewpoints and perspectives as it relates to their business. Some perceive this term as not applicable to their company or line of business while others see it as a threat. Sometimes I encounter an organization which sees this as a potential opportunity which they are targeting strategically. However, a significant amount of people struggle to comprehend how IT Transformation relates to Business Transformation overall. In this blog entry, I’ll summarize each of these at a high level and discuss their relationship.
Let’s start by defining some of the key concepts behind Business Transformation as it relates to today’s market. Business Transformation, as the phrase would suggest, involves change. Change is usually driven through external market shifts which create pressure on an organization to change with it. Sometimes this change can be drastic in nature such as what we have seen in the entertainment industry with the emergence and dominance of streamable media. Oftentimes, however, this change is gradual but presents significant risk to revenue disruption if left unchecked. Business transformation is the re-alignment with market and/or consumer behavior to continue to operate profitably but also strategically, to attract new clients and gain a competitive edge. Three key qualities which businesses need to enable transformation are as follows:
- Speed: Businesses need to be able to accelerate the delivery of their services to the market. They need to increase revenues while driving productivity from the workforce to create advantage in the market place. If you’re not first, you’re last. #RickyBobby
- Intelligence: Businesses need to be smarter than they ever have before. They need to be able to ingest and respond in real-time to the massive amount of data their company generates as well as capture and respond to external data such as social media.
- Innovation: Businesses need to be able to create new and differentiated client experiences to attract and retain clients.
So what is IT Transformation and how does it relate to Business Transformation? Simply put, it functions as a mechanism to respond, support and enable Business Transformation. Information Technology is the toolbox of the modern business. IT can enable speed, insight and innovation to the business but only after transforming itself. IT needs to become a strategic element of the business instead of a support function. To do that, IT needs to change. Below are three ways which IT needs to transform:
- Reduce Costs: IT is expensive and as markets create financial pressure on organizations, it must learn how to do more with less or find new and creative ways to fund it through just-in-time allocation of infrastructure or cloud-based, consumption services. There are many new infrastructure technologies, products, and companies which help optimize IT spending away from their current 3-5 year refresh cycles.
- Drive Simplicity and Agility: The most valuable assets organizations have are their employees. Simplify IT infrastructure and move them from a supporting role in lights-on activities to a business facing role in planning and delivering strategic, business transformation activities.
- Cloud Operations: Accelerate time-to-market (#RickyBobby) both internally and externally for application and revenue driving activities. Cloud operations allow IT to support business initiatives effectively via either on premise or from a provider.
Business Transformation relies on IT Transformation. Without it, businesses cannot keep up with the pace of change and pressure exerted upon them competitively. Hopefully this blog entry helped paint a picture for how they relate and what is driving those activities. If you want to expand on this or continue the conversation, please contact me.