What did we get right and what did we get wrong in our chat about IT's role in Digital Transformation projects - CIO Keith Laidlaw joins the debate.
IT is part of the team and is an essential part of the strategic leadership team along with operations, change management and HR. Keith suggested that years ago IT was considered a citadel department, too busy with other IT related projects to spearhead any organisational change programmes. Over time organisations developed 'IT islands', external to the IT department, which they invariably knew nothing about, which was fine to an extent, however, IT islands affected the holistic nature of the organisations IT systems. Suddenly marketing systems couldn't talk to sales, sales systems couldn't talk to finance, the island effect had created technology 'silos'. Had IT been involved in these change decisions, they would have had a more holistic view of the technology.
To Keith, digital transformation is ultimately about the decentralising of skills. Global teams can now collaborate effectively no matter where they are in the world. Keith argues that digital transformation also supports BAU and business continuity. Using the examples of call centres, Keith argues that with the right technology and metric's in place, productivity can continue at the same rate no matter if an employee is in the call centre or taking calls from their front room.
The questions we are now facing are around education and professional or medical consults, can these be effectively delivered through digitisation? The enablement for all of this is communication infrastructure. Keith suggests that in this regard, we are already there. With approximately 99% of the UK having access to 'fast fibre' with download rates of 50-60 megabytes, speeds which 5 years ago were the preserve of offices only. Now, these ability services are in people homes, individuals can do everything online from home which they used to have to do in the office. IT has to be reactive also and be able to quickly investigate business requirements and this can sometimes be difficult.
Keith suggests that the old IT model has changed, the last decade has seen a move to a RAD approach (Rapid-application development), an adaptive software development approach, which allows packets of development to be released incrementally, every 2 weeks. This approach allows for development to happen piecemeal. Keith argues that while organisations may not know exactly what they want end to end, they often know what they want to happen first. IT is no longer perceived as inhibitor or blocker to change, the new mode of working allows the organisation to test their ideas and help inform the end to end strategy through rapid testing and deployment.
Watch the rest of this discussion.
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