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Is your business ready for digital transformation?

By: Bill Coutinho 21/09/2015

There is no turn around: digital transformation is impacting all business segments and several businesses are being reinvented as you are reading this. To deal with something so huge while being at the spot is not easy. That´s why we wil go through practices we believe are necessary to leverage the impact of the transformations being done and help executives and strategists to find new opportunities in such a complex and interrelated business scenarios.

The first step is to deal with a new mindset to put together new technologies, like Big Data, Analytics, Cloud and Mobile, into the business strategic planning. Having IT in the center of this planning is no longer an option. It´s a must. Remember Blockbuster (where are they?) versus rising Netflix?

The biggest challenge is to turn IT into a strategic leverage for innovation without compromising security and stability of the basic IT infra-structure (server, networks, ERP). Gartner has coined a term to define this scenario: Bimodal IT. In this approach, it is necessary to have two different operations, with the first connected to the maintenance of a robust and stable infra-structure and the second focused in the differentiation through digital innovation.

Another topic is to transform the relationship between business and IT. Since ever, business is the demanding area with IT responding to each request. But this is a non-fit for innovation. For digital transformation to be effective, IT and business must talk the same language.

Unfortunately, IT is still considered a support team in charge of operations maintenance and the CIOs are hardly involved in strategic decisions. They are usually called to join tactical reviews and this is not enough for digital transformation. To make it happen, both areas have to transform some of their practices.

For IT, it is about promoting higher levels of communication among different teams. It is still very common to have development and operations team too far away. Digital transformation demands these teams to get closer and redefine processes, responsibilities and feedbacks (including from users or customers).

We´ve been helping our clients to use DevOps approach with excelent results, including shorter cycles and continuous delivery. In our experience, sharp communication, collaboration, integration and cooperate with developers and other IT professionais will generate innovation and agility, pillars for the digital transformation.

For the business, it is about adopting new practices and management model. For one good reason: the initiatives to create digital products does not fit into classic planning, focused on projects and pre-set goals. And that is because they are under influence from unpredictable changes from a digital world where business, market and people are all interrelated and constantly changing.

A good option is the lean startup approach. It is a very interesting idea: by introducing shorter development cycles, it is possible to focus on items with higher business value. Dedicate time and resources to over plan something that will change – a lot, but in unknown direction – is a waste of efficiency. It is good to highlight that in a digital transformation world, the highest value is measured by innovation positive impact in the business.

This is the reason to have a digital product development based on hypothesis orientation, periodic launch and continuous improvement backed up by continuous real data feedback.Eric Ries, in his Lean Startup book has made popular the “Build-Measure-Learn” cycle.

In the end, to have it all working just fine, it is good people who matters, working on a corporate environment where the human aspect and technical competencies are balanced and can jointly create the highest value for the business.

So: is your business ready for digital transformation?

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