Digital Transformation as an Expression of Business

In much of industry, the idea of “Digital Transformation” has taken root. At the core of this process is the need to replace antiquated and “slow” processes, products, and service offerings with agile, automated, and “smart” processes, products, and service offerings. In addition, digital transformation is about the inclusion of all potentially interested parties (employees, partners, customers, influencers) in the creation and execution of new lines of business and innovation.

While the concept of Digital Transformation has been around in the entire Internet Age, necessary elements have indeed been missing. First, not always were the underlying technologies ready for “prime-time.” What works in manicured and controlled environments doesn’t always work at scale or in fast-moving, instant-decision environments. Second, the culture of transformation has not always been present with many forces internally and externally being focused on the power of the status quo. Third, Digital Transformation requires the foregrounding of certain parts of the organization at the perceived expense of others parts. With these constraints, the prevailing scenario for transformation has been characterized by the gap between intention and execution.

Of the organizational barriers that impede the progress for Digital Transformation, the schism between IT and Business is perhaps the most profound. Business users in organizations are governed by entirely different imperatives than IT teams are. While business changes, roles and cultures do not always keep up with the dynamism of business models and the directives that come out of the C-suite.

Business users are defined by the “Power of NOW!” while IT is chartered with issues of security, governance, compliance (and at times control) that if applied in the canonical methodology, are antagonistic to the time-based agility that has come to define modern business.

This happens even when IT teams and Business teams are friendly and believe in the same overall set of goals. This is the result of technology configurations that were not flexible or adaptive, two defining characteristics of true Digital Transformation.

When IT and Business are in Harmony, agility is possible in a way that does not run afoul of the core mandates of IT. When IT and Business are in structural harmony, all of the manic energies of the organization can be trained on the same end goal.

Running IT like a Business and running Business in an IT-native world are keys to Digital Transformation. At stake here is the ability of organizations to navigate the shoals of modernity and complexity, in which every expanding pools of data and ever-growing avenues of expansion characterize business.

As such, Digital Transformation is the ultimate expression of IT-Business Harmony and IT-Business Harmony is the starting point of real Digital Transformation.

Guest post by:
Romi Mahajan, KKM Group
Srini Venugopal, Epicor Software

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