Digital Transformation needs a fusion between digital capabilities and business change, rather than just alignment. In order to earn ‘business love’ the IT department has to keep its ability to deliver while sharpening its ability to envision and materialize the innovation power of technology. One prerequisite is to burn the requirements binder: once seen as bridges, they have become borders, even barriers, separating business and IT. Instead, digital platforms and catalogues of services should bring the inspiration for jointly assembling the right solutions for change. The IT function is successful if the business side happily takes the stage to testify about technology benefits, takes the lead in digital transformation projects and holds a significant part of the IT budget. Are you doing what it takes to get there?
Historically, love has not played an essential role in the relations between business and information technology. Mutual distrust is not the right Petri dish for love. Business never liked the IT black box – too much mystery, too much jargon, too much cost, too long lead times. IT never liked the business fortress – too arrogant, too much jargon, too many changes, too much impatience.
As they needed each other, they found a way of working together: Business puts together big binders of requirements, ships them to IT, which, a few months or years later, delivers the finished product – an application that, when it works, meticulously fulfills every requirement. Good in theory, frustrating in practice – the application by definition fulfills yesterday’s requirements.
Condemned to Love Each Other
In the era of Digital Transformation, business and IT are condemned to love each other. For one simple reason: Business without IT doesn’t survive; IT without business impact dies. Luckily, love has become so much easier, natural almost. Business people have become fans of modern technology; they now see it through the smiling faces of their smartphones, tablets and smart ‘things’. IT people share this passion, and grasp how technology changes business.
When in love, one speaks in a way that is easily understandable for the partner – goodbye jargon! When in love, one spends lots of time together – ideas are generated together, separate strategies become one, projects are integrated as a matter of course, responses come before questions, one rhythm binds the orchestra. When in love, one experiences harmony and collaboration.
Utopian? No, a way of life for Digital Enterprises – and one of the keys to their success.
Five Signs Love is in the Air
How do you know when business and technology are in love? Here are five indices.
1. They burn the requirements binders and adopt new preferences for creating solutions:
– Capabilities over Requirements
– Value Scenarios over Use Cases
– Working Prototypes over Specifications
– Dialogues over Paper
– Catalog over Custom-built
– Joint understanding over Positions
– Pictures over Descriptions
– Stories over Structures
– Platforms over Crafting
2. They work as one team. Enterprise projects are entrusted to teams assembling all necessary competencies and capabilities.
3. They start before the start – exploring and creating together; in the value chain, to ensure products and services truly fit the digital world, research and development includes information technology.
4. They draw one architecture only – the enterprise architecture depicts, in a single blueprint, the flows of business, their technology embodiments and the envisioned changes.
5. And they regularly deliver, but never end their development; because, as a part of the world of networks, the enterprise needs to constantly adapt and connect and readapt and reconnect.
Whatever ‘side’ you are on – if any – always consider if you have taken the right measures to ensure true love at the other side. Digital Transformation is a long but exciting journey and one should not undertake it from a marriage of convenience.