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TechnoVision 2014 - Business, Mon Amour

Category : Innovation
Design For Digital #4 - Business, Mon Amour

The consumerization of IT and the availability of Cloud solutions have brought technology closer to the business than ever before. True Digital Transformation creates a fusion between digital capabilities and business change, rather than just aligning it. The IT function in an organization is successful if the business side happily takes the stage to testify about its benefits, and also takes the lead in business/IT projects and holds a significant part of the budget for innovation. An ongoing dialogue is crucial for this, together with an architected platform to enable digital change and a shared, end-to-end transformation approach.

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 which, when it works, meticulously fulfills every requirement. Good in theory, frustrating in practice - the application by definition fulfills yesterday’s requirements.
Today, 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 and tablets. 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 advantageously replace them with dialogue, mutual understanding, pictures, iterative development in short cycles and prototypes.

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 & development includes information technology.

4. They draw one architecture only - the enterprise architecture depicts, in a single blueprint, the flows of business and their technology embodiments.

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.

This contribution by Pierre Hessler.

Part of Capgemini's TechnoVision 2014 update series. See the overview here.

About the author

Ron Tolido
5 Comments Leave a comment
Agile approaches truly rely on business and IT being in love. When you're using what Scrum calls a "Product Backlog", "start before the start" means that you have actually started working on concrete solutions and delivering value before your product backlog is "finished". I would also add another indice: "stop before the end", meaning that you stop working on your product/service before your product backlog is empty. Here are two reasons why: 1. what's next to be delivered could not be worth it and 2. you may have another product or service on which you should spend the remaining energy of your teams.
rtolido's picture
Thanks Olivier, these are excellent builds. We'll try to weave it in into the final (eBook) version of TechnoVision 2014, due for end of December.
Utopia! Unfortunately the majority of the projects I am involved with are migrating core functions out of a highly integrated and poorly understood legacy architecture. These bring with them a number of challenges: - Detailed requirements are needed as no one fully understands the legacy solution. - In order to minimise disruption it's next to impossible to deliver piecemeal. Back end changes are constrained by release cycles, client side changes by the need to maintain a consistent experience. I advocate using an Agile approach to take individual components through to the completion of Unit Testing, then putting everything through SIT and UAT. This doesn't realise the full potential of Agile but it does maintain momentum and forces a tight focus on the functionality in hand.
Mike, See also our 'Trains and Scooters' discussion elsewhere in TechnoVision 2014. There is a difference between the way organizations should deal with their foundational, 'core' applications and the next generation of agile, opportunistic 'edge' applications. Easier for Business and IT to fall in love in the latter area, admitted.
Thanks very much for that reference back to a earlier instalment of Technovision. It contains a great analogy that really helps put everything else in a real world context.

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