What strategies can IT leaders use to make a transformation initiative successful?

2.3k views1 Upvote10 Comments

CIO and Startup Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
It's such a people-driven process, but it's our role as technologists to actually educate and drive it that way and I don't think we do enough. Enterprise customers—especially the massive Fortune 500 companies—are the ones that I see as having the biggest challenges, and it’s not because they don't have the talent or the money. Being a Fortune 500 company proves they have enough money; they just don't understand that it's a cultural change that is needed. For example, we have to start by changing how we do portfolio management and financials, so can we stop funding projects and start funding products with a roadmap? And can we change the conversation to business outcomes that are measurable instead of tasks being completed or the deployment of a new feature that has brought no tangible benefit to customers? It's definitely about focusing more on the people and process. As technology executives, we know that better than anybody else and we don't do enough.
CIO in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
I don't know that there is a magic answer other than being realistic in setting expectations and managing the resource needs better. You also need to have software that's designed with an understanding that you can have whatever best practice or out-of-the-box capability you want, but it's almost never going to be a one-size-fits all solution. I see a lot of designs where they went in feeling optimistic and then started bolting on all sorts of stuff as the company grew and they dealt with things in real life. That’s how you end up with a Frankenstein monster at the end. It's hard to maintain.
1 2 Replies
Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

In its early days, Salesforce promised out-of-the-box functionality to manage customers—a cookie cutter solution—but my last SFDC implementation took 9 months!

CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees

It became a workflow tool capable of almost anything, so it really depends on what you want to achieve.

CIO in Telecommunication, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
At Viavi, any purchase of software is centralized within IT and we collaborate with global procurement. Governance around software purchase in terms of roles and responsibility and decision making is clearly defined. This promotes standardization and avoids duplication and wastage. There are quite a lot of software vendors out there, who promote business transformation focusing on a particular application and/or technology. It creates a false sense, that is, the software is going to solve business problems. Often fails to look at underlying business processes and drivers to address the need for transformation. When we work with our business partners, we take the tool/technology conversion out, we tell them, do not go by the fancy presentation by the vendors, we will get to the technology when we know what we are trying to solve. For transformations to be successful we need to look at the Business Problem that we are trying to solve, understand the key drives, acknowledge issues that need to be addressed. Clearly define what the end result is and how do we measure, is the measurement a revenue increase, optimize cost or measurable efficiencies. 
When we measure and tie investments to a proper return and make individuals accountable, we have a higher probability of making these initiatives a success.
Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Every board needs an IT leader who can help articulate the "value of IT". And that leader may or may not be the CIO; they could be an independent non-executive director.
2 Replies
CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees

And that value was proved a couple of years ago—tech-savvy boards drive greater success.

CEO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed

The value of IT is in the support or enablement of creating, capturing, optimizing and delivering value.

CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
IT leaders need to manage the change management cycle of the transformation initiative from end-to-end.
Associate Vice President & Head IT in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Effective change management and involvement of all stakeholders in IT projects for their valuable contribution!

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Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
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