This is a paradigm shift! How many times have you heard that claim made during your IT career? It’s probably one of the most overused phrases in our industry, but at the risk of ‘crying wolf’ – we are in the midst of one of the most profound and far-reaching changes in the way digital technology is consumed, deployed and owned.
As an IT Management professional, you are witnessing the impact of digital transformation from a unique perspective: the proliferation of technology means there’s more to manage – the exponential increase in complexity means the scale of the task is unprecedented – and the elevated role of technology in modern life means the impact and outcome of the services you provide have never been more visible or valued.
Your mission is to make sure the very foundation of modern living and digital business meets and exceeds the expectations of those who depend on it – day in, day out: Your mission is to bring IT to life.
Guess what? You’re center stage.
Most of the people who depend on digital technology have no idea what it takes to deliver an experience that is intuitive, responsive, robust and available wherever they go – and rightly so! The goal of effective service delivery should be total transparency from the consumer’s perspective.
You can’t deliver on that promise without having highly effective IT management: From apps that deploy easily, rapidly and perform flawlessly – to mission-critical data that always seems to be available and updated – through to revenue generating websites that consistently have just the right amount of resources to guarantee optimum performance with maximum efficiency.
In a very real sense, IT management is pivotal to the success of an effective digital transformation program. Yours is a discipline whose profile and significance has increased significantly in recent times – this could be somewhat intimidating, but viewed from the right perspective, it represents a real opportunity to take leadership and drive the right outcomes.
Measure twice, cut once
It’s critical to your future success that you help to define a foundation for digital transformation that allows you to remain in control and manage the current and future complexities that this revolution will inevitably bring. Sitting back and inheriting someone else’s vision will not be an effective strategy!
So, exactly how should you think about the demands of digital business from the perspective of IT management? What things should you prioritize? And what are some of the critical investments you’ll need to make? Before we dive into our recommended approach, let’s take some time to understand the context in which you’ll be making some very important decisions.
A World Where Everything Matters…
Where once you may have had the luxury of choosing a core strategy that favored one set of outcomes over another – e.g. focusing on operating efficiency at the expense of a more innovation-led approach – now everything matters.
With so much dependence on technology for the future success of the organization, IT finds itself in the challenging position of need to excel in every dimension. Innovative services that give the business a competitive edge also need to be rock-solid, cost efficient to deliver and extremely secure.
They’re also expected to be accessible anytime, anywhere and instantly adaptable to changes in business conditions. Not to mention simple to audit, a source of business insights and they also need to get better. Continuously!
Just for good measure, when your business users need to interact with you – perhaps when something breaks, or they want something new – you need to be extremely easy to do business with. Your own shop front needs to be every bit as good as the online experiences they’re used to, because they can (and will) go elsewhere.
…especially your team
These demands aren’t restricted to your internal customers either: To attract and retain IT operations talent, it’s increasingly important that your own workplace experience is equally compelling. IT professionals demand tools and solutions that match the ease of use and simplicity of the apps they use. They also want to collaborate and share information, have mobile access and a rich source of decision-support data.
This upending of traditional IT strategy and operational models will have profound effects on how we think about pretty much everything in IT, and this is just the beginning. There’s no escape from now on: everything is on show and mission critical.
Your Mandate to Innovate and Industrialize
The recent focus on the disruptive forces of social, mobile, analytics and cloud systems has rightly drawn a lot of attention and investment. There has been a valid mandate to adopt these transformative technologies as they genuinely do create new ways of working and doing business.
But ‘SMAC’ is not enough: Digital business still depends on a much broader spread of infrastructure – some of it highly innovative – but a great deal of it is the less visible, less exciting machinery of service delivery: the switches, the servers, the storage, the workloads etc. Most organizations will have some combination of physical, virtual, cloud and hybrid deployments too – each requiring subtle (and sometimes not so subtle!) differences in how they’re operated.
All of it is critically important and all of it needs to be managed and optimized if anything is to work correctly. And as if that weren’t enough, the diversity of these technologies is increasing, while their degree of interconnectedness multiplies at an exponential rate.
The industrial model of production has a lot of best practice to offer IT management teams. A couple of hundred years of successive refinement and advances in technology have produced a hugely efficient means of tackling routine tasks with tremendous speed, efficiency and consistency.
Build Your Unfair Advantage
In building an effective response to the escalating demands of digital business, it’s a good idea to pick projects that will have a disproportionately high impact and address multiple key requirements within each initiative. This will also drive a correspondingly higher ROI and make the very best use of the constrained resources you have.
We’ve looked very carefully at the span of current and projected challenges you’re likely to face and have identified six strategic areas. We believe they form the most effective leverage points on which to focus your efforts. They are also intended to help build an approach that balances innovation with the need to industrialize.
How? Tune in next week…
If you’d like to find out more about structuring your approach to digital transformation from an IT management perspective, come back to www.bmc.com/blogs next week, where I’ll explore six strategies critical to making sense of the challenges ahead.
If you can’t wait, keep your eyes peeled on www.bmc.com for my new whitepaper in the coming days (I’ll put the link here too when it’s ready). The whitepaper extends some of the ideas we just covered and explores our recommended approach in detail.
Until next time, comments are welcomes as always – you can also find me on Twitter as @messagemonger