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Rebooting IT: What Separates Digital Leaders from the Rest

What could IT do with a fresh start? The new approach would be one of speedy time to market, personalization, and transparency – no more monolithic architectures. But as Steve Berez, Vishy Padmanabahn, and Stephen Phillips write in a white paper for Bain & Company, a fully fresh start may not be feasible for established companies. Instead, it’s the path of “upgrade or be outmoded” that most will walk.

Bumps on the Road to Transformation

The big three hurdles along the path of IT evolution include:

  • Creating a more “nimble” customer experience
  • Upgrading the legacy technology stack
  • Accelerating the transition within budget

Three Winning Cards to Play

After significant research into what really makes companies move to the tune of better IT, the authors settled upon three leading “A” end goals:

  • Aligned priorities
  • Agile IT operating model
  • Affordable journey

A company that rewards collaboration and experimentation between the business and IT will come out on top (71% of leaders do). This is one of those cultural things that require “multiyear innovation efforts,” so if your organization is feeling a bit shaky on the alignment front, best get down to a more streamlined agenda.

Part of the alignment solution relies on IT making a conscious effort to become more agile. That, in turn, means hiring the right talent. Your next-gen employee must be comfortable with agile, DevOps, analytics, cloud, mobile development, and cyber security. Yours must be a two-track organization with a focus on software development and a modernized application-based architecture. About software development, the authors write:

Next-generation digital systems require faster and better ways of developing and launching applications. Leaders adopt Agile development processes, DevOps and cloud infrastructure to speed delivery and reduce costs. Agile coupled with DevOps reduces costs by more than 30%, and cuts development time in half… DevOps practices complement Agile by creating tighter linkages between development and operations teams, emphasizing continuous delivery and a culture of re-use. Teams should also be taking a “cloud-first” approach to new development, opting for cloud wherever possible and preferring public cloud unless security or performance concerns dictate the need for private cloud.

Of course, the whole transition must not leave your company bankrupt, which is where cost management comes into play. Prioritization of assets is a must, and if the organization doesn’t like justifying its needs to IT, the process will be all the more painful. For the most expansive view of what an IT reboot entails, you can read the full white paper here: http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/rebooting-it-what-separates-digital-leaders-from-the-rest.aspx

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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