OpenGroup London, it’s all about transformation

This week I’m at the OpenGroup event in London. The first two days were focused mainly around TOGAF and the introduction of TOGAF 9.2, but some good side sessions focused on IT4IT. In a world that is increasingly becoming complex, where companies source services from an ever larger amount of external partners, having a clear understanding of how to integrate so, despite the spread, companies can have an end-to-end look of their processes, their systems and their data. Each environment, each system has been developed in isolation to achieve its objective, but is now required to interact with others in a transparent way to the end-user.

IT departments are siloed, often focused on technologies, and completely incapable of describing the end-to-end processes they are supposed to support. A fundamental transformation is required to move IT forward and address the challenges ahead of us. Things are changing at an ever faster speed, is IT ready to embrace that change and support it?

The digital transformation is not new, it has been around for the last 40 years as IT technology increasingly invited itself into everything we do today. But digital technology is evolving from just a supporting function helping us to do what we have to do to an environment predicting what we will do next. The tremendous amount of data available today allow enterprises to predict what our next moves will be.

Its all about how you can deliver to your users the tools and experiences they need, they want and they would like to have timely, with the right level of quality at the cost point expected. To quote Forrester, what companies need is “a digital business platform that is based on modular technology, built around business API’s and designed for rapid reconfiguration of business models, processes and ecosystems.

The first question to ask yourself is “what is the purpose of your organization?” Understanding what the fundamental objective of the company is, is critical for the IT organization to identify what capabilities it needs to deliver. I have asked many CIOs what is “CORE”, to their company. In other words, what is differentiating themselves from their competitors and what they need to do to support that differentiation. It’s really interesting to see that many CIOs don’t have an answer to the question. To properly support the business in their quest for digital, its paramount to understand this so IT is ready to put its efforts on supporting those key elements, and be able to add value to the business.

One other element many companies forget about is the user experience. Thinking through the interactions, not applications out, but users in, makes it intuitive and easy for users to call upon the functionality available in the IT systems to do their job properly. What IT departments need to understand is that, in today’s mobile world, user experience is adamant. If you don’t like the way of working of a mobile app you uninstall it. Understanding the emotional charge when using an IT application is important, but mostly overlooked.

How can IT add value to the business? What is the IT value stream. Here is where IT4IT really starts playing a role. Having a clear transformation strategy enables IT departments to become part of the business. That requires IT and business to closely cooperate. And IT4IT enables that value stream discussion. Are you there already?

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