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Five things your CEO should know about your IT transformation programme

Sebastian Jammer | May 28, 2012
Companies that are able to leverage IT effectively can realise cost savings and revenue upsides, while gaining market share over competitors.

Many organisations either don't have such talent available, or they cannot spare this talent from the day-to-day responsibilities. As a result, they consider taping external partners to fill such critical positions.

CEO Focus
The CEO has to ensure that a suitable programme leader is assigned, that is not only respected with IT teams but also through the rest of the corporation. He has to embed the programme leader into a supporting programme governance structure and provide the resources to establish an SIO. The CEO should consider the early assignment of the project leader and SIO at strategy definition stage.

Establish a Technology Enabled Business Transformation Programme
A large part of today's business processes in a corporation are orchestrated in IT tools and systems. As a result, IT often gets blamed if business processes are not functioning effectively. This leads to the belief that a new IT tool will fix most process and organisation problems. IT gets under pressure to renew or upgrade the supporting systems and lead to a supposedly better future. However the delivery of an IT project on time, budget and quality this does not mean that the business improvements are achieved. Expected revenue increase, cost savings or other critical performance measures like time-to-market are not accomplished automatically with new IT tools.

Here's another example: A large enterprise in Indonesia wanted to improve the efficiency of its internal software development teams and provide process visibility. The IT management decided to acquire and implement a software tool that to improve the software development workflows. However, the complex legacy software development processes, including the excessive documentation requirements, were mapped into the tool without streamlining or optimisation. Consequently the tool was very complex to use and software developers bypassed the tool in most cases by reverting to the old manual process. Hence, efficiency did not improve and process visibility was not established.

Real improvements can only be accomplished if technology supports effective business processes in a fit for purpose organisation. It is important that the IT Transformation programme is designed with the business as a driving force. The programme should be seen as an IT enabled business transformation programme rather than a technology renovation.

Business process streamlining as well as organisational review should be a mandatory component of the transformation programme. A top-down business process and organisation review supported by the appropriate management levels is the basis for achieving business outcomes. The business leadership has to assume an active and leading role during the whole transformation process. Leaving the programme to IT alone is not an option and will decrease the chances of success.

The most important step to enable a business driven transformation is by modifying the programme success criteria. Instead of only measuring on time, budget and quality delivery, the success criteria should also include business objectives.

 

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