In most companies, corporate strategies are owned by the business, along with the necessary funding to fulfill that strategy. Business owns the associated requirement definitions that will execute the strategy. Corporate IT departments are there to implement solutions that satisfy those business requirements. Typically however, business stakeholders lack IT knowledge; they ‘own’ the requirements and the data those requirements produce, but it is IT that provides the solutions that leverage technology that creates that data; the business doesn’t always know what to ask IT for as they don’t understand the possibilities. Very often, these two groups do not necessarily work well together with IT feeling that they are simply ‘order takers’; not being seen as true partners of the business. Therefore, it is imperative for the fulfillment of any corporate strategy in a fiscally efficient way for these two groups to work very closely together to completely understand how leveraging technology can drive strategies forward.
Migrate your infrastructure to a cloud platform
Legacy IT departments create on-premise infrastructure solutions to support all of their IT needs. These solutions may be implemented across multiple physical locations and require very large investments in hardware and software to support a wide area network. This configuration can create many potential issues around backing up data, replicating data, security, etc. With very sophisticated cloud platforms (i.e. AWS) today, companies are migrating their on-premise solutions to the cloud and seeing immediate savings in their TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) expenditures, just by stabilizing their existing systems on a new cloud-based platform. Additionally, cloud migrations are highly-secure and offer tremendous flexibility in storage requirements that provide immediate scalability as companies grow and expand their offerings and geographies.
Use of Data
Business applications typically produce massive amounts of data, based on their requirements. The data is not ‘owned’ by IT, but rather by the requirement owners: the business stakeholders. The ability for Business stakeholders to understand this data and what it tells them is absolutely key to leveraging technology, creating scalability and driving meaningful business strategies that enhance customer experience and improve profitability. Understanding their data can lead to more effective change management, delivering solution improvements more quickly and saving on costs overall. Many business stakeholders do not understand the data that they are producing and lack user-friendly, efficient tools to help them analyze this data effectively. It is imperative that the business uses the necessary time and resources to accomplish this, as it will directly lead to long-term improvements and cost savings for the enterprise as a whole.
Use of the ‘Right’ Metrics – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Understanding their data allows business stakeholders to determine what are the leading indicators that drive their business. Many businesses look at their data to determine how they have performed over a recent historical period. This data is considered to be ‘Lag’ data in that it only shows what has already happened, and by itself, is not predictive of future results. Companies that understand their data quickly start focusing in on those data elements that are predictive or are ‘Leading’ indicators of future results. Those metrics allow companies to see well in advance how they are performing and if they are going to achieve their goals. In this way, they may have the ability to make adjustments along they way, possibly ensuring a better result.
Business Process Improvements
Many companies stifle their ability to scale and grow by not addressing ever-green improvements to their business processes. As an example, companies will continue to add employees to handle increased workloads of emails and phone calls, both internal and external facing, based on siloed business processes. It may be very advantageous for them to look at their business processes end to end to see if a Case Management solution could drastically decrease the number of necessary communications. The resulting Return on Investment (ROI) could be very substantial. Leveraging technology to satisfy business process requirements should be periodically evaluated, as new and more efficient technologies are appearing more frequently, each having potentially large ROI.
Have a Digital Strategy Roadmap
Any business to business or business to consumer strategy today should be moving toward digitalization. Having easy to access and use web-based solutions that allow for maximum self-service capability is essential for continued growth. Reducing more traditional methods of interacting with all customers (i.e. email, paper, phone, etc.) should be a priority in all technical and business roadmap strategies. The resulting improvements in revenue growth and customer satisfaction far exceed the cost of implementing a digital strategy.
Most important to repositioning IT platforms is to maintain alignment with corporate long-term strategies as closely as possible. Most large scale enterprise solutions require very long Discoveries in months and potentially another year to implement. Not understanding the over-arching corporate direction and timings can make the leveraging of technology to support them almost impossible. IT organizations should be at the corporate strategy table, providing possible solutions and time tables for the most important strategy implementations. Solutions should not be implemented that do not directly support and further the corporate strategy.