Tuesday, June 28, 2016

“CIO Master” Book Tuning XXXXXVIII: How to Build an IT Roadmap for Digital Transformation

Building a digital-ready IT roadmap is a proactive approach to well prepare for the digital transformation.

Forward-looking IT organizations are on the journey to digital transformation. And strategic IT leaders also build a solid roadmap to show the time sequence of a strategy. A "roadmap" is simply a plan for moving or transitioning, from one state to another. More specifically, how can CIOs build a digital-ready IT roadmap?

Roadmaps can sometimes be just technology transitions, but usually, have social and organizational components of change. A roadmap shows the transition plan, it is the set of investments, programs, projects and milestones that take you from the current state to the target state of the business. The end result is a dynamic tree-like structure of roadmaps with interlocking deliverables and schedules. IT sustenance and business innovation are on every CIO's roadmap, especially in the well-established enterprises. Every IT project is the business project, for any forward-thinking organization, develop a business plan for the IT strategic roadmap; develop the business case for the roadmap; begin to socialize with business team and management to gain support. IT must be managed in two ways; the utility side of the house where IT constantly drives costs lower; the second being a business innovation engine which is the only way to lift IT from commoditized service to strategic partner; from the cost center to value creator; and from the reactive service provider to the proactive game changer. And it is doing so that IT can enable the business to increase market share, acquire new customers and increase innovation.

Define more than one ways of achieving the goal. Conduct organizational level briefing and choose most suitable and acceptable approach. Once you know that current state (the starting point) for both the business and IT and how well they interrelate and get a vision for the business, then you can begin to put a vision together for IT. The last step will be to determine how you get from current state to the vision state in detail (the roadmap). A key ingredient will be the expectations and requirements from business management on how they expect IT to contribute to the overall business. Digital strategy making and execution are a collective effort of IT and other business departments to fit business purposes, leverage digital speed and delight customer. Digitalization is driving unpredictability, demanding a more rapid deployment that quickly can adapt to the changes and adjust to the new market conditions. IT strategy is one of the most significant components of the corporate digital strategy. It is how to leverage the resources and assets of the IT departments to create the optimal business value - which in the next step, will generate revenue growth, brand or increased market shares. Define more than one way of achieving the goal. For each approach, estimate costs, resources required, timelines, risks involved, and trends.
(a) Break it down into several stages. Each stage being a point where in business gets the benefit of the activities so far or taken up the activities so far to form a stepping stone for the big step.
(b) Attach timelines, interim goals, assumptions, business units’ support needs and implementation plans.
(c) Get acceptance from the senior management for the costs, timelines, budget allocation, resource requirements, training, and freeze the road map and publish it.

Have a clear “To-Be” statement with prioritized / desired capabilities, and define a roadmap of the strategy for both long term and tactical quick wins timeline. At the age of people including both customers and employees, IT needs to set priority to digitalize every touch point of customer experience. IT has two sets of customers as well, the internal users who count on IT to equip them with the effective technology tools to improve productivity and work satisfaction; and the end customers who shop the business’s products or service and continue to compare their customer experience with competitors.' The user would need a delightful experience because if the user is bored or confused with the applications, the revenue or productivity will decrease, it will directly impact the business’s top line growth or bottom line efficiency. The artifact of digital-ready IT roadmap becomes one that covers the following:
(1) what the application portfolio looks like today
(2) what it needs to look like to achieve the business goals
(3) the series of initiative/changes/steps that bring the portfolio from here to there.

Building a digital-ready IT roadmap is a proactive approach to well prepare for the digital transformation. Digital organizations are often characterized by a continuous transformation correlated to the changed customer behavior and technical evolution. However, at today’s “VUCA” digital dynamic, be cognizant of unknown. CIOs as top leaders, you have to be humble to realize there are many things you know you don’t know and perhaps even more which you don't know what you don't know. Therefore, even you have built a comprehensive roadmap handy, be alert to identify blind spots, be flexible to adjust the planning, be open to listening to the different points of views, and be determined when you have to make a tough choice and take the calculated risk. Digital is the journey to practice leadership effectiveness and weave all important business success factors into the digital symphony.


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