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Prioritizing IT for Speed and Agility

May 11, 2020 2:44:23 AM

by Charles Bystock

Adopting agility into stodgy enterprise technology infrastructures is the new imperative for CIOs. The push is to change best practices, product delivery, and the overall end-user experience to better model many of the startup organizations that are encroaching into every traditional market, from retail and health care to insurance and finance. How can CIOs deliver faster and cheaper, make sense of a seemingly endless list of business demands, and generally respond more quickly to market demands?

The answer is to prioritize IT for speed and agility to deliver value across the organization.

Why IT speed and agility matter

Adapting IT models to optimize product delivery and end-user convenience isn’t a new idea; we’ve just failed in many instances to deliver on the promise of the digital tools we use. Even the largest and most traditional industry holdouts are now modernizing their stack with new cloud architectures, an emphasis on innovation, and improved customer experience.

Case in point: SAP recently released a survey of 200 insurance executives who say they are scrambling to respond to consumer demand for more innovation in this very traditional industry. The study showed that the regulatory climate and widespread availability of new technology tools are informing more innovation in the field, but it’s consumer expectations of agility and simplicity that are the true market drivers in the insurance industry today.

Having a more adaptable product strategy is imperative when harnessing the power of millennials, the generation that just surpassed baby boomers in population size. Of the insurance executives surveyed, 21% said their firms were already tailoring products to fit this audience. More than half of respondents said they have moved at least a portion of their infrastructure into the cloud.

This illustrates the point that IT speed and agility matter to the consumers we serve, whether internal or external. The markets continue to shift with consumer demands, and it is our ability to dynamically adjust that will mean the difference between capturing market share or falling behind.

Agility, competitive advantage, and the enterprise organization

CIOs and their enterprise IT networks have been catapulted into higher visibility than ever before as they seek innovation in the face of great disruption. This visibility illustrates that our back-end infrastructures, legacy platforms, and bureaucratic processes are stifling innovation and slowing corporate growth.

The good news is that cloud models have matured to the point where even enterprise organizations feel comfortable, and these tools can impact every point in the organization. CIOs seeking business agility must reprioritize and streamline existing operations, cut costs, and develop flexibility to achieve competitive advantage. How can CIOs transform their current IT model into a more agile framework?

5 steps to IT agility

While CIOs understand the need for speed and agility, turning a freighter is a slow process. Follow these five steps for creating a successful IT transformation:

  1. Reassess your IT delivery strategy — The new goal for your IT teams should be continuous delivery. Increase transparency to build a culture of continuous improvement. Faster, higher-quality deployments are possible under agile models that benchmark behavioral metrics by individuals and teams.
  2. Develop smarter workflows — Process improvement starts with transformation of stagnant workflows. Cutting work sequences and bureaucratic layers will help teams deploy work faster and more consistently. Start by road-mapping architectural decision-making from prototype to deployment. Ask yourself at each stage, “How can my enterprise organization mirror the innovation found in a startup?”
  3. Improve portfolio management — Supporting the deliverable is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Use software and cloud architectures to modernize delivery methods for speed and access. Consider how each deliverable in the portfolio meets business needs.
  4. Create IT financial transparency  The first step toward finding value is to quantify each deliverable so that it provides the end user with exactly what they want when they want it. Seek to connect each IT initiative to specific funding increments and organizational strategic goals.
  5. Increase business innovation — Flatten management to increase transparency. Empower individual decision-making and enable flexibility in teams. Reiterate strategic initiatives clearly across your IT infrastructure and allow individuals and teams more latitude in exploring new ways to reach goals.

If your IT team is constantly asked to deliver on a host of seemingly unrelated business demands, it might be time to develop new strategies to streamline IT priorities. Adapting IT for speed and agility sets the stage for digital transformation. Enterprise organizations can adopt the innovative mentality of a startup organization.

Windsor Group helps organizations transform their IT infrastructures. Talk with our experienced team today to find out more.

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