08 Sep, 2016

Embarking on Your Digital Transformation Journey

By: Jeanne Morain | Digital Transformation Catalyst, Author, and Strategist

I recently interviewed over fifty plus IT Leaders for my new book – iSpeak Cloud™: Embracing Digital Transformation.  I asked each of them what they believed Digital Transformation meant and received fifty different responses varying from a digital technology adoption to addressing requirements for digital consumption.  The one clear resounding point across all fifty answers was that the Cloud is at the epicenter of the current Digital Transformation shift.  As C-Level executives are faced with reigning in technology sprawl, costs, and compliance risks, it is hard to know where to begin.  Below are 5 Steps to get started on embarking upon your Digital Transformation journey.

1.  Start Where You Are

Most people would not go to the store to purchase more food without checking their refrigerator first to see what they have, what is still good, and what needs to be discarded.  Every Digital Transformation Journey should start with an audit of what is there today versus what is desired for tomorrow.  Many top performers interviewed for my books start with an audit of some sort.  Once they have identified the gaps between current and desired state they forge a strategy centered around a Cloud Center of Excellence to address the identified gaps.  No two strategies will be exactly the same as each company is unique.  Many will however share some basic tenants and steps as they go through their journey.

2. Understand the Rise of the Digital User

Digital Transformation is being fueled not by technology but the increased consumption of technology by users that are digital.  Kim Stevenson, Intel CIO, said it very clearly to the Wall Street Journal. Ms. Stevenson stated, “IT isn’t transforming the workforce, what’s happening is the workforce is transforming IT.”  Technology leaders like Ms. Stevenson that recognize the benefits of embracing and creating a way to on board digital consumption from the users in – are reaping the benefits for their company and careers.

3. Embrace Shadow IT as a Strategy

Enterprise customers did not purposely or strategically adopt hybrid cloud solutions but it is safe to say at this point nearly every company and many agencies has some form of hybrid cloud.  This is primarily because of users whether intentional or not adopting various cloud based solutions to enable them to be more productive at their job.  Many in the technology field refer to this as “Shadow IT”.

Technology leaders that are embracing “Shadow IT” have found that there is often great business value and benefit to the company overall. For example, Intel CIO reported the business benefits of this approach as her rationale for requesting contracts with 1800 of the 2000 unsanctioned cloud applications that were identified.(2015, WSJ)

4. Address the Cloud Conundrum & Causes

Creating a cohesive cloud strategy around a plethora of new solutions while balancing compliance, costs, and current legacy solutions is no easy task.   Digital Transformation minded executives understand that it is far safer, more secure and less risky for the company to offer solutions via a secure company portal than to completely cut users off.  They must balance risk and user productivity in a collaborative manner to succeed.

Many companies face communication and cultural shifts when trying to solve the current Cloud Conundrum.  It is important to understand and address any disconnects creating lack of alignment between the company and their providers to succeed.  This was cited as a critical success factor from Gary Acromite of the Gavilon Group in iSpeak Cloud: Embracing Digital Transformation.  As the Chief Information and Logistics Officer – Mr. Acromite was instrumental in leveraging and eliminating the silos around cloud based solutions as a core component of their Digital Transformation efforts.

5. Gain Deeper Insights

Whether you are new to your digital transformation journey or have already started – the iSpeak Cloud series was created as a global positioning system from people in the trenches for people in the trenches. The books focus on the how not just the what and why – by those that have made the journey.  The series has over 180+ interviews ranging from the C-Suite down to the individual contributor with validation from Industry Luminaries.  The steps and processes are agnostic with a wide range of perspectives from small to large enterprises and grounded in my own experience leading strategy and planning for a large transformational effort within a large IT organization and 2 decades of creating processes and products from the vendor side that drove transformation around Infrastructure, Ops, and Dev.

Volume 1 – iSpeak Cloud: Crossing the Cloud Chasm was intentionally written like a play to educate the various groups across technology and their peers to understand the different perspectives and factors impact Digital Transformation.  It was created to bridge the communication gap in understanding between business and technology leaders and the drivers for digital disruption causing the Cloud Chasm.

Volume 2 – iSpeak Cloud: Embracing Digital Transformation is written like a cook book with prescriptive guidance and lessons learned during each of the five phases based on prescriptive guidance from leaders in transformation for the industry, their company, or department. Each chapter starts with words of wisdom from industry leaders at the executive level and ends with prescriptive guidance from the trenches.

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