Transform IT to become the agile business partner
This article first appeared in InformationWeek
Agility is critical for businesses today. According to a PA survey, 72% of business leaders believe their company’s ability to respond rapidly to change will make the difference between success and failure. But business leaders know they can’t achieve agility without IT by their side. That’s why now, more than ever, IT organizations must transform from service provider to business partner.
Nick explains that when faced with complexity, such as that presented by a 20-30 year old legacy claims system, organizations “bolt on” technology. “They’re aspiring to be digital, and from the customer’s perspective it appears to be digital, but the bolt-on automation makes it more complex and less flexible from the inside. There are more interfaces and more systems. The bolt-on strategy is useful for quick wins, but it doesn’t deliver the total transformation that people aspire for.”
If bolting on technology is not an ideal means of transforming IT, then what is? Nick describes two other approaches. “You can go to a sort of dual universe where you build a parallel environment. This comes with the freedom to build whatever you want due to the greenfield approach. And it reduces risk, but it’s also expensive because you’re supporting two environments over a period of time.”
Nick adds that the last option delivers the most value but also comes with the highest risk. He describes it as a “big bang” approach involving “major surgery where you rip out systems and build new ones.” This approach requires more than technology. “Organizations must embrace agility as part of a bigger vision that spans the enterprise to enable big bang projects to succeed.
Nick points out that IT organizations and software development houses in particular, are familiar with agile. “The biggest takeaway is that IT transformation should be part of the overall evolution of the organization to be agile, and there is an opportunity for IT to lead that at least because they’ve been agile for a while. It’s an exciting opportunity for IT, not a scary problem.”
Did you know the top 10% of financial performers are 30% more agile than the rest?