When Gartner analysts Hank Marquis and Milind Govekar presented the keynote at Gartner IT Operations and Strategies & Solutions Summit in Orlando last May, they drove home one major point: we are on the brink of reaching the cusp of an industry-wide Digital Business Transformation. And whoever can successfully implement it first will reap the biggest benefits — catapulting their businesses out of their competition's reach.
It's a race against time, and the time is now:
65% of IT teams prioritize innovation for competitive differentiation citing that innovating for the business is the number one challenge for IT teams to meeting their strategic objectives. Moreover, 75% of consumers feel it is absolutely critical or very important that the companies they buy from are innovative. (Source: "State of the Connected Customer,” Salesforce Research, October 2016)
One in two CEOs says that their industry will be completely digitally transformed by 2020 and 84% of executives believe that digital will help them increase profit margins. 22% of CEOs are planning to add digital to the core of their enterprise models, making the digital capabilities the core competencies. By 2020, CEOs also expect 46% of the product value to be digital.
Companies that were not born in the cloud are still in the early discovery, cloud-first stages of maturity, but this will change over the next two years as these organizations are “exploiting new capabilities with a cloud-only” approach to gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, by 2020, Gartner expects that "cloud adoption strategies will influence more than 50% of IT outsourcing deals" and a quarter of all IT spending will be on cloud-only.
This tidal wave industry transformation will drive new infrastructure and operations (I&O) capabilities. But as you know, Digital Business Transformation doesn't just simply happen by signing on the dotted line for a cloud-based subscription service plan. It needs diligent and strategic change to be successful.
Managing Infrastructure vs. Adding Business Value
Many IT managers are under a lot of pressure to deliver fast results and often they lose sight of what really matters. It is all too easy to get lost in the rush and excitement and then implement as many disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robots and chatbots, and Internet of Things, as possible.
While this is still a very consumer-driven market, vendors, such as HP and Microsoft, are now adapting those solutions for enterprise applications. There are always new developments and trends, so it is hard to resist the urge to jump right in rather than sit down and take enough time to develop an overall IT strategy and build a solid foundation on which all of your Digital Business Transformation efforts will be orchestrated and managed.
But even with a solid strategy and robust technology platform, you will still have to deal with your current workload. Rather than strategically focusing on where and how to enable IT to facilitate more transactions (e.g., make an active contribution to the company's bottomline through the development of a mobile app) and how to add more business value, IT managers will be bogged down with their existing (and consistently growing) workload to manage infrastructure.
Not doing so will leave you stuck in your current rut, with a compounding mountain of IT debt weighing you down, stuggling just to keep the lights on while you then have to deal with a surplus of new and unfamiliar technology. Not surprisingly, this is one of the biggest reasons why enterprises fail.
IT Automation To Allow Innovation
According to the just released State of IT report, IT managers spend about 54% of their time on infrastructure management tasks just to keep the lights on.
Since you probably won't get more budget or can't hire more people, you have no choice but to become more efficient to be able to absorb all the additional work.
The answer to that problem is simple: Use intelligent and data-driven IT Automation to eliminate, streamline or significantly accelerate tedious, labor-intensive manual tasks.
In fact, the same report states that "81% of the organizations will increasingly automate tasks to allow team members to focus on innovation over the next 12-18 months."
But even with implementing IT Automation to cut down your current workload, you will need to take a strategic approach to set yourself up for success.
A Strategic Approach To IT Automation
Putting your team in a position where it can facilitate your company's Digital Business Transformation strategy isn't an overnight change. You will need to transform your IT organization, your management approach, and your infrastructure to allow you to spend less time, money, and resources on managing infrastructure and start facilitating more transactions to add more business value.
Below, we have mapped out the ten most important steps along the way:
Transform your highly specialized, always short-staffed IT team by hiring more versatile staff
Act as a customer-centric business liaison rather than a siloed IT department as your team becomes the central IT service provider for your organization
Build a strong, adaptable, and future-proof IT infrastructure that will serve an agile platform and foundation for future technological advancements
Inventory and consolidate the number of currently used (or installed, but not used) third-party IT management tools with the goal to establish one central command and control platform
Create repeatable, scalable processes and project frameworks (e.g., Windows 10 Deployment Rings) that allow you to keep up with the faster cadence of change that comes with X-as-a-Service solutions
Implement proactive IT automation solutions to improve end-user experience (e.g., improve PC health) and reduce the number of IT tickets created through the use of self-service and self-guided wizards
Reduce existing software-related IT complexities by rationalizing, normalizing, and consolidating your application estate and by tightly managing your app licensing and lifecycles
Streamline your application management process by automating your end-to-end application management process (app testing, certification, and packaging) using intelligent workflows
Automate as much IT Transformation and Business-as-Usual tasks (e.g., your Windows-as-a-Service update deployment) as much as possible using rule-based workflows, self-service and data insights
- Review your team's tasks on a regular basis and set out to automate as many of them as possible, freeing up time to innovate!
In summary, to be able to facilitate and empower your company's Digital Business Transformation, your team must be able to reduce the number and impact of manual tasks that purely focus on keeping the lights on and dedicate more time to innovation and adding business value.