The digital transformation of companies is not just a question of competitiveness, or market positioning, it is a question of survival.
In order to remain competitive and improve their performance, companies from all sectors and sizes must develop new business strategies and processes by taking advantage of information technology and communication.
In this context of a digital economy, companies that want to remain viable must, of course, have leaders capable of recognizing opportunities, but also the IT environment capable of handling this new mission.
IT is now at the center of business transformation for:
- Strengthening customer acquisition and loyalty
- Valuing employees
- Optimizing operations by boosting efficiency
- Transforming products
However, in many Canadian companies, in 2017, IT departments are still very traditional and more oriented to maintaining systems than meeting the needs of the lines of business.
Based on this, here are 2 strategic mistakes that could lead you away from the growth path.
Not offering IT a seat at the executive table
The traditional role of IT is to ensure the stability, security and functioning of the infrastructure; It is "keeping the lights on".
Nobody obviously wants the lights off, but what the digital economy of today demands of IT is, that in addition to their usual role, they contribute to the company's results. This by focusing on business innovations such as improving the customer experience, optimizing business processes and developing new business models.
It is time for IT to come off of the sidelines and sit at the executive table, because confining them to a mere executor role is a guarantee of failure.
Diluting the responsibility for IT initiatives
As more and more initiatives incorporating information technology are run directly by business departments, the associated budget is also transferred to the lines of business.
At the same time, the IT department must integrate the applications or services to the existing infrastructure and ensure the overall security and efficiency.
This is called "shadow IT", or parallel IT characterized by the fact that business line managers make IT decisions regarding their department without consultation with IT.
The most common cases involve the use of unauthorized applications by users which brings about many risks, as well as the provisioning of SaaS-based software by lines of business.
In the latter case, there is no dispute that lines of business are in the best position to define their requirements, but integrating IT before hand is certainly an additional guarantee of success in the choice and implementation of the solution.
We are experiencing the 4th Industrial Revolution which requires leaders not have a digital strategy but a corporate strategy in a digital world.
As information technology transforms all aspects of the business value chain, the role of the IT department must shift from being the custodian of infrastructure to contributing to growth.
The necessary (but not sufficient) condition is for IT executives to have a seat at the decision making table and to be involved in strategic decisions (the what) and no longer be relegated to mere execution (the how).