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Digital Transformation 2.0: IT and Business Strategy Alignment

4 minute read
Chris Ellis avatar
It’s time to enter the next phase of digital transformation: process platform governance.

Automation and governance are critical to solving the complex, inefficient and disconnected processes that block businesses from taking their digital capabilities to the next level.

At this point, we’ve moved beyond simple digital transformation. Nearly every organization has already invested in digital and continues to prioritize these initiatives, especially as the recession stretches business resources thin.

But just because enterprises put money behind digital doesn’t mean those projects pay off. In fact, of the 80% of respondents in a 2018 McKinsey survey who said their organizations have undertaken digital transformation projects in recent years, only 16% said those projects improved performance and enabled long-term change.

Too often, these failures can be attributed to process silos propagated by the various disjointed tools and technologies that businesses implement, ironically enough, in their transformation efforts. Simply using the latest technologies is not enough. Rather, digital maturity requires a complete change in organizational thinking.

It’s time to enter the next phase of digital transformation: process platform governance.

Overcome Digital Suspension

Most companies have stalled out at the early stages of digital transformation. Key operational challenges prevent them from moving on to more advanced stages — and therefore achieving the ultimate goals of transformation.

  • Reliance on old IT methods: While many organizations have embraced modern digital solutions, they continue to rely on outdated, inflexible IT models. This mismatch makes it difficult to streamline and manage IT systems, creating further complexities and inefficiencies. 
  • Fragmented IT governance: Many organizations suffer from IT sprawl — the result of using various disjointed, manual IT processes. Oversight of these processes is often ad hoc, or worse, nonexistent: One-third of mid-market companies have no IT governance strategy at all.
  • Process automation misalignment: Many CEOs and CIOs lack the communication — and therefore alignment — needed for long-term automation success. Without true partnership between C-suite and the IT department, enterprises fail to create automation roadmaps that establish top business priorities and desired impacts.

As a result of these challenges, many enterprises are stuck in a state of digital suspension. Without the ability to connect the various new solutions they’ve adopted, they can’t move forward. But syncing your IT and business strategies can help your organization reorient its waylaid digital evolution plans and set you on the path toward long-term success.

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: Going Beyond Digital Transformation

Apply a Framework to Your IT Platforms

A process platform approach provides the framework needed to align your IT strategy with your business goals. In this model, modular IT platforms — each with its own activities, team and business goal — work independently and together to automate processes, create agility and enable rapid innovation. Each of these moving parts are governed by a central unit, or a process Center of Excellence (CoE), to ensure alignment across platforms.

The world’s most innovative tech giants, including Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, have all implemented this fail-fast approach to IT to stay ahead of the competition. And thanks to advances like low- and no-code tools and drag-and-drop interfaces, enterprises of all sizes and industries can adopt the same approach.

But no single tool or technology will yield effective process governance on its own. Instead, you must change your entire organizational mindset.

  1. Centralize IT governance: Start by facilitating communication between executive leaders, IT teams and business units to align on key goals and create corresponding modular platforms. Then, establish a CoE to oversee all the platforms and keep priorities on track.
  2. Map and automate processes: Map your existing processes using intuitive tools that allow employees across departments to provide input. Identify those best suited for automation to eliminate pain points and streamline inefficient processes. Look for a platform that offers a range of automation technologies — from e-signatures and digital document generation to robotic process automation (RPA) — to meet all your unique needs while ensuring interoperability.
  3. Track performance and continuously optimize: Use the analytics and reporting mechanisms in your platform to track the performance of each automated process. Leverage this data to fine-tune processes and maximize results over time. Make sure to revisit your strategic goals to ensure processes are optimized to meet them. 

Digital transformation is a spectrum. Many enterprises are stuck at the lower end, but a process platform approach can help get yours to the top. By aligning your IT strategy with your overall business goals, your organization can be just as agile, resilient and innovative as Big Tech.

Related Article: Want to Be a Leader in the Digital-First Era? Upskill Your Workforce

About the author

Chris Ellis

Chris Ellis, technical director at Nintex, gained invaluable experience in SharePoint, Office 365 and the Nintex Platform as a pre-sales solution specialist within the partner network. Hailing from Aberdeen in Scotland, his work with the Nintex Platform exposed him to the full lifecycle from analysis and requirement gathering to delivery, support and training, contributing across a spectrum of projects in various industries and in some interesting places.