Building a technology strategy to support business transformation

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Companies right and left are looking for ways to transform their business. Changes to customer demand and operational functions are key business transformation drivers. Companies need to make decisions faster and with more accuracy.

In order to effectively manage business transformation at a pace never seen before, companies must rely on technology and automation more than ever. Reliance on data–and at speed–drives this trend. I covered this in more detail in IT’s critical role in the business transformation journey.

Building a technology strategy

A good technology strategy starts with understanding where you are headed. Business objectives provide the guidance.

Many companies experiment with new technologies to gain a greater understanding of their potential and identify opportunities. This is a great approach. However, it is important to build out a technology strategy that aligns with your business objectives both today and in the future. Keep in mind that these objectives will evolve and change over time. A good technology strategy adapts to these changes in a timely fashion.

Strategies should focus on what moves the needle for the organization and stakeholders. This means focusing on activities that directly tie to business objectives and create the greatest value for the organization. Prioritizing what is important helps align the team and technology over time.

On the other end of the spectrum, technical debt is an issue every organization needs to address. It’s not only limited to older technology, but also encompasses organizational structure, processes and architecture. Technical debt does not need to be something legacy. It could be something that was installed last week.

As an organization considers its technical debt, there is a balance to be struck between what debt to take on and what to retire. Not all debt is bad, nor should all debt be retired. Technical debt should be a purposeful conversation and whatever decisions that are made should be included in your technology strategy.

Technology at the core

There are certain technologies that play well with addressing changes in business transformation. Both customer engagement and business operations are leveraging data from the edge to the cloud.

Cloud computing is still the single biggest opportunity for companies looking to transform. This is not to suggest that cloud is the right solution for every application or situation but rather to understand where best to leverage it, and where not to.

Most enterprises are already leveraging a combination of cloud-based solutions. Cloud provides the opportunity to leverage expertise and resources without having to manage internally within the enterprise. This is true with both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) and allows companies to focus on those aspects that provide the greatest value to their core business.

While cloud provides unique advantages for companies, it must be leveraged in a thoughtful way that maximizes the goodness cloud brings without introducing unwanted issues. Simply moving an application or service to cloud misses core changes and introduces challenges down the road such as increased complexity and additional costs. Moving to cloud requires a rethinking of architecture and processes to appropriately leverage the opportunity cloud-based solutions bring.

Beyond cloud, data analytics in the form of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) provide the insights from data that companies are clamoring for. While technically possible to do all of this internally, it is no longer practical due to cost and resources requirements.

The combination of cloud and analytics will require a shift toward increased automation. Similar to cloud, it is important to understand where and how to introduce automation in a meaningful way. Automation helps deliver insights faster with greater accuracy to support data-driven decision making. Knowing where and why to bring it into the solution is key.

Looking beyond technology

Beyond technology, it is important to consider the capabilities and alignment of the IT organization. A good overall strategy considers the organization, processes, capabilities, focus, and technology over time.

Not all IT organizations are ready to take on these technology changes right out of the gate. Part of a good technology strategy includes understanding the role of IT within the company moving forward. From there, doing a gap analysis provides insights into the changes needed to align with the business outcomes.

Beyond the organization, look at the processes in place. There is a direct relationship between IT capability, technology strategy, and business outcomes. Process sits at the core. A technology strategy involves understanding which processes are good candidates for automation and why. Not all processes can or should be automated. It is important to map a technology strategy that aligns with business processes and organizational capability.

To get started, start with the business outcomes. Map organizational capability, business processes and technology strategy accordingly. Consider the future state desires and steps needed to get from current state to future state. Ensure that any strategies are socialized and align with those outside of IT.

Remember that a good technology strategy involves much more than just technology. To learn more about these topics, check out this BMC infographic and eBook where I join other top influencers to discuss the role of automation in the changing technology landscape. 

This post is sponsored by BMC

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