Top 10 considerations to ensure a successful IT transformation

  • Posted on August 1, 2017
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
IT transformation

This article was originally written by Avanade alum Bernadette Harkin.

Transformation is the new norm in IT. It is constant but not consistent. It is driven by different business requirements and pressures. How do you ensure the best transformational outcome? Start considering these 10 areas.
  1. Determine the KPIs – Every transformation needs resulting KPIs that are influenced by execution of the transformational plan. Ideally one to three high-level KPIs should provide clarity and focus. Those KPIs should transcend business and IT. Levers, such as process optimization or technology rationalization, are the key influence to progress against the KPIs.
  2. Be clear about the scope – This is partly vision. Perhaps the vision has already been set by the business or it may be an IT-only vision. Some transformations enable the business to provide existing products and services in new ways (card-free ATM access or payment for tires by the mile). Some transformations enable the future through a shift in the business model, allowing access to new revenue streams (augmented reality/virtual reality smartphone). Let’s not get confused, though. Optimizing and cost cutting are not transformational to the business, but they still need a solid execution plan.
  3. Be clear about how – A vision needs a transformational visual, which ideally is your roadmap. It needs to show the big picture and get into the detail so you can communicate this clearly to your stakeholders, providing a consistent message across the organization. The roadmap needs to be what you measure your progress against. A roadmap needs to be designed for agile or in sprints. The days of 12 months to plan and three to five years to execute are well gone. Plans need to demonstrate the delivery of early wins and progress towards the business outcome.
  4. Have a well-defined business case – It’s highly unlikely that you are making decisions without a well-defined, financially aligned business case. A budget is not a business case. The business case needs to be built through heavy engagement between the business and IT and agreed with finance. Business cases may be supported by eventuating revenue potential, protecting revenue streams. In the case of non-transformational cost cutting it could be a cost-only case based on operational improvement.
  5. Engage stakeholders – Stakeholders crave clarity on when the benefits will be delivered and the cost to the business. Business outcomes need to be sourced, prioritized and agreed with the business, and the subsequent roadmap needs to visualize and align.
  6. Bring in expertise – Changing the way the business works or changing the business model may require extended skills and capability. Of course, capability can be developed from within and an opportunity provided to grow and develop. Leveraging external expertise can bring know-how that is valuable to the execution and develop existing talent along the way. External expertise could be short term from partners or longer term as new hires. Extensive development to the business model could be in the form of acquisitions that are already equipped with the capability to execute on the transformation.
  7. Leverage the shift in technology to get there – AI, as a Service, bots, RPA, augmented reality, accelerated development – there is much to leverage and technology is advancing rapidly, providing us with the capability to get a head start on the competition. 
  8. Leverage existing assets – Don’t lose sight of valuable assets that have been created over many business cycles. Take a view of the old with the new and ask what would my competitors say we have as compelling and marketable assets that are difficult to replicate. Ensure that you identify those assets and drive further value through integration and connection with current technologies.
  9. Be forward and backward looking – Data has its place. Valuable data that can at least benchmark against industry and assist us with smarter decisions is a key part of transformation planning. Data needs to be cautiously used as it can narrow the focus to doing the same thing more efficiently or effectively. If you can combine a data-based view with the “art of the possible” based on experience and intuition, your transformation becomes a satellite to the future of the business.
  10. Get out of the building – There are volumes and volumes of information, data and opinion beyond our keyboards. The best minds to leverage are those on a similar journey in the same or adjacent industries. Getting connected and conversing on real-world experiences and outcomes boosts the successful outcome exponentially. Often leadership gets tied to business governance and doesn’t have time to look outward for experiences to leverage – get out of the building!

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