Digital transformation pushing companies to reinvent IT roles

August 17, 2017

Digital transformation of businesses across the globe is forcing organisations to reimagine the role of their IT functions to stay competitive and relevant. The ongoing disruption of businesses, enabled by technological innovation, provides an opportunity for IT departments to be the strategic reference point in their organisations’ transformation journey.

The changing role of IT departments.

There is a growing trend among enterprises that is moving IT departments away from their traditional roles as cost centers and technology facilitators to crucial positions as revenue generators. Increasingly, departments within organizations — from marketing to sales and departments in between — are looking to IT departments to help impact and improve business outcomes by enabling the use of innovative technologies to engage with target audiences in new and exciting ways.

The transformation process better of the common themes emerged within IT departments;

  • Move towards becoming an internal service provider

Experience-led design and SaaS delivery models are becoming the norm in both consumer and enterprise technologies. IT organisations need to re-think and re-design their service offering to better serve their users, moving away from centrally mandating technologies or applications. Business units choose the services they wish and are free to source alternatives from external vendors. They monitor usage, adjusting resources according to demand. Whilst the IT team are always innovating their service offerings, they are not alone.

  • Develop products and services with cross functional teams

Many digitally mature organisations are moving away from the notion of funding projects and programmes. Instead, they are moving towards cross-functional teams developing a set of products/services.  They can scale as and when the user base ramps up and can disband when the product or service is no longer used. The products and services developed may prove to be business models in their own right.

  • Beyond the notion of Bi-Modal and Tri-Modal IT.

New agile practices are beginning to do away with the big-bang approach of delivering whole applications. Instead, smaller, more nimble teams aim to release products early and often. They present something usable and gain feedback earlier to help steer the design. Bi/Tri-modal strategies encouraged faster-moving projects around the edges, but they did not put provide a holistic approach to shortening delivery cycles throughout the estate. Most second-speed projects will hit a hard-stop dependency on a first-speed application that takes a long time to resolve. Organisations must move beyond bi-modal IT, into systems that encourage shorter cycle times across all applications.

  • Computing as a commodity

For many reasons, the adoption of cloud technologies was slow off the mark amongst large-scale IT organisations. New tools and technologies are beginning to emerge that help build confidence. As a result, cloud is finally taking off within the enterprise space. There are two primary strategies being pursued; public and hybrid. Standards for cloud computing have rapidly matured in recent years and should be the default option going forward for most.

  • Micro-service over monolith

Those who are brave enough to have tried will know first hand the pitfalls of trying to introduce agile working practices on large-scale monolith applications. The trouble with monoliths is they keep getting bigger and reach a point where you need a whole department just to maintain them. Running small, standalone change projects become impossible. It is by no means an easy task, but the monoliths need to be broken up to make way for smaller, loosely coupled services.

  • Platforms and ecosystems

IT departments need to define a flexible technology platform that underpins and enables service orchestration and combination. A platform needs to provide integration across internal and external services to encourage the development of a natural ecosystem of services.


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