Leadership teams across many large to mid-sized businesses across Australia have dedicated much of their time to digital transformation. And, when embarking on the journey, the inevitable discussion centres on who within the organisation leads the charge. And, what is the best approach?
We’ve seen for example, the rise in roles such as the chief digital officer. And, depending on which publication you read, the likes of the CMO and the CIO / CTO often take a lead role too. Yet, while digital is an intrinsic part of the transformation conversation, it’s not the only part. With technology so ingrained into the business and how it operates, surely the conversation should centre on ‘business transformation?’
Quite often though, it will fall into the hands of IT – particularly those in Australia’s mid-market organisations – to see through the transformation. But herein lies the challenge for IT. Not only are they running the technology to ensure the existing business works. At the same time, they’re expected to build new technologies to enable the next generation business model. This in itself is quite a challenge when you consider IT teams spend at least “80 percent of their resources and budget on maintaining existing infrastructure and applications – otherwise known as “keeping the lights on.”
Which begs the question. With so much to do on a daily basis, who should lead your transformation journey, and how exactly should they go about it?
Despite what you may consider as logical support for technology minds to lead what many see as a technology-led initiative, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review voices a contrary opinion. Backed up with data too. It supports the notion that placing a digital or technology expert in charge of the business’ transformation may not be the way to progress most effectively.
“Insiders with little digital experience who are placed at the head of digital initiatives succeeded about 80% of the time (of the 50 cases we studied). Why? Because ultimately digital transformation is as much about organization change as it is about technology. Insiders who are willing to learn have an advantage because they understand how the business works, they have the relationships to get things done, and, most important, they understand what they don’t know. They also understand when they need help: Smart insiders hire digital expertise into their team.”
The notion of understanding what you don’t know and bringing in help when it’s needed is vital to successful delivery. A trusted IT managed services partner is worth their weight in gold. They can listen to the business needs, as delivered by a non-technical ‘digital’ lead, before offering a technical solution to fit with the transformation of the organisation.
Traditionally thought of as ways to operate your existing technology, managed services helps transform your business too. Specifically, most transformation projects are undertaken with a view of providing greater customer experiences. And while a managed services partner can ensure the operational side of the business runs smoothly, they can also play a big role in the creation and management of the new digital customer experience too.
And no place is this truer than in the mid-market. These organisations have fewer IT resources to call upon and therefore need the skills of a managed services partner to build the technology platform that supports the next generation digital customer engagement.
A reason many organisations engage with a managed service partner as a tool for transformation is for access to talent. With such a variety of experience across a raft of clients and industries, mid-market organisations can utilise these skills to quickly advance their own transformation.
The combination of the latest and greatest technology platforms, systems and processes, combined with the business expertise of a non-digital lead often creates a successful transformation. Non-digital leads have a greater understanding of previous systems and processes that helped to make the organisation a success in the first place. It’s therefore vital this understanding is incorporated into the next generation business model too.
A good managed services provider is able to take their learnings and experience to develop, offer and further enhance platform-based delivery services.
Helping to drive greater business agility, platform-based delivery models make it far easier and cheaper to launch new initiatives across the business. They use standardised, transformable components to deliver technology services quickly. Yet, they can redesign certain elements too, depending upon an organisation’s needs by industry for example.
Not only that, but platform-based delivery can help remove a great deal of governance and risk challenges associated with implementing new systems and processes. They can re-use security policies validated in previous work, offering a high degree of automation to remove complexity.
Using managed services as a tool for transformation helps you break free from being part of the group spending 80 percent of their time focused on operational IT tasks. If you are seeking to engage with a true business partner, and to focus on strategic initiatives, an innovative managed services partner will pay huge dividends.