Perspectives From the Pioneers: IT Organizations in the Digital Era

There is a lot of talk in the market about digital technologies and the impact they are having on business. In reality, it is happening the other way round with the evolution of business models driving a change in technology. If you analyze business models and solve business model issues first, then technology can begin to be viewed as an enabler to transformation. In fact, at ISG we believe the greatest challenge enterprises are facing today is how they can innovate their business models and ensure those models meet their future needs. An organization’s response to these two challenges will drive the technology agenda, not vice versa.

In the past, IT has been viewed as a support function within businesses. However, when you consider IT from a business model transformation perspective, the role of an IT organization is changing into that of a service provider. Businesses are demanding of their IT organizations that they be more flexible to changing business objectives, new competition and acquisitions. They are less concerned about what technologies are being used by IT organizations and more interested in how the IT organization is going to influence or facilitate a change in business model.

This presents a new set of challenges from a business-IT collaboration and an IT transformation perspective. To bring about business transformation, focus has to move away from technology. Business leaders must first think about defining the desired business model and then figure out what technology would be appropriate. The best technology in the world cannot solve business problems alone, but the right technology associated with the right business model will enable business growth and cost optimization.

At ISG we have the privilege of supporting and working with IT and business leaders globally. Through our involvement in hundreds of client engagements, we are observing a clear transformation taking place in the way enterprises view technology. The adoption of new technologies is no longer optional if businesses want to remain competitive and conversations amongst business leaders are shifting increasingly from “Is digital for us?” to “How can we make digital work for us?”.

Amongst these leaders we also discern a strong desire to connect with their peers and to learn from them. It is in response to this need that we have launched a series of publications entitled “Perspectives from the Pioneers”. For this issue we spoke to a number of senior leaders from diverse industries and service provider organizations to understand their perspectives on business and IT transformation as well as the influence of digital. In this edition we observe key topics around business transformation, collaboration between business and IT and IT transformation. Most business transformation initiatives are concerned with customer experience, data analytics, process transformation and flexibility. Collaboration between business and IT is focused on aligning IT value with business outcomes. Finally, the IT initiatives that the contributors describe focus on ensuring cost transparency, driving operational efficiency, bolstering the innovation project portfolio and ensuring overall enterprise security and governance.

We invite you to read each article in this publication and gain deep insights from leaders
who have grappled intensely with organizational transformation and made it work for them. Whilst there may be no formulae that you can lift and apply straight to your businesses, our contributors reveal their own experiences from which every reader will be able to draw valuable lessons.

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