TechnoVision 2015 – Business Mon Amour

Design For Digital #3 – Business Mon Amour
Digital Transformation needs a fusion between digital capabilities and business change, not just alignment. In order to earn ‘business love’, the IT department must successfully deliver while sharpening its ability to innovate through technology. First, the requirements binder needs to go: once seen as a bridge, it is now often perceived as a barrier between business and IT. Instead, digital platforms need to build the inspiration to jointly assemble the right solutions for change. The IT function is successful if the business side happily takes the stage to testify about technology benefits, as well as take the lead in digital transformation projects, plus hold a significant part of the IT budget.

Historically, love has not played an essential role in the relations between business and information technology. Mutual distrust is not the right Petri dish for love. Business never liked the IT black box – too much mystery, too much jargon, too much cost, too long lead times. IT never liked the business fortress – too arrogant, too much jargon, too many changes, too much impatience.

As they needed each other, they found a way of working together: Business puts together big binders of requirements, ships them to IT, which, a few months or years later, delivers the finished product – an application that, when it works, meticulously fulfills every requirement. Good in theory, frustrating in practice – the application by definition fulfills yesterday’s requirements.

In the era of Digital Transformation, business and IT are condemned to love each other. For one simple reason: Business without IT doesn’t survive; IT without business impact dies. Luckily, love has become so much easier, natural almost. Business people have become fans of modern technology; they now see it through the smiling faces of their smartphones, tablets and smart ‘things’. IT people share this passion, and grasp how technology changes business.

When in love, one speaks in a way that is easily understandable for the partner – goodbye jargon! When in love, one spends lots of time together – ideas are generated together, separate strategies become one, projects are integrated as a matter of course, responses come before questions, one rhythm binds the orchestra. When in love, one experiences harmony and collaboration.

Utopian? No, a way of life for Digital Enterprises – and one of the keys to their success.

How do you know when business and technology are in love? Here are five indices.

(1) They burn the requirements binders and adopt new preferences for creating solutions:

–       Capabilities over Requirements
–       Value Scenarios over Use Cases
–       Working Prototypes over Specifications
–       Dialogues over Paper
–       Catalog over Custom-built
–       Joint understanding over Positions
–       Pictures over Descriptions
–       Stories over Structures
–       Platforms over Crafting

(2) They work as one team. Enterprise projects are entrusted to teams assembling all necessary competencies and capabilities.

(3) They start before the start – exploring and creating together; in the value chain, to ensure products and services truly fit the digital world, research and development includes information technology.

(4) They draw one architecture only – the enterprise architecture depicts, in a single blueprint, the flows of business, their technology embodiments and the envisioned changes.

(5) And they regularly deliver, but never end their development; because, as a part of the world of networks, the enterprise needs to constantly adapt and connect and readapt and reconnect.

Whatever ‘side’ you are on – if any – always consider if you have taken the right measures to ensure true love at the other side. Digital Transformation is a long but exciting journey and one should not undertake it from a marriage of convenience.

Your expert: Pierre Hessler  

Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2015 update series. See the overview here.

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