The Current State of Digital Transformation
As we move into the new decade, one thing remains—and promises to remain—constant in IT: change in requirements from the business.
Digital Transformation keeps driving the priorities of IT organizations across industries, and it is no secret that CIOs are focusing much of their efforts and resources in such endeavors. According to relevant industry surveys, 97% of IT decision-makers are involved in digital transformation initiatives. Priorities like improving customer experience, adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, multi-cloud computing and systems integration are driving the strategies of businesses in collaboration with IT organizations.
Nevertheless, we all know that becoming digital is not a simple task. It involves shifting culture, changing processes, redefining architectures, adopting new tools, and in many cases even renewing infrastructure.
The Role of DevOps in Digital Transformation
We cannot deny the fact that DevOps has played an important role in all this, since it has successfully enabled IT teams to move from a silo structure to a cross-functional, self-managed way of working. We could even dare to say that DevOps has changed the DNA of traditional IT teams by transforming the mindset, values, principles and practices of their members. And of course DevOps is not everything, but it certainly is key for the modern IT.
Despite the many success stories we have seen and heard of, there are still many digital transformation initiatives that are delivering totally different results. Other industry surveys show that less than 30% of this kind of efforts succeed. What is happening then? Is digital transformation only for a few? Does it work only for big companies that are mature enough to handle it?
The Different Components of Digital Transformation
IT organizations are—and always have been—conformed by people, processes and technology. A digital transformation, therefore, must encompass all of these. We cannot transform technology without targeting also a transformation in processes or people, and the other way around, in all directions. The question then is, what should we address first? Technology? Automation? Processes? People? Culture? All at the same time? And here lies the key to success.
According to Gartner, when it comes to expanding a new approach like DevOps, the element of people is what represents the biggest challenge for IT organizations. And of course this sounds logic, since people seem to be the asset that is more prone to resisting change. Technology, information and processes will all obey to the behavior of the former.
There Needs to Be a Change in Focus
Perhaps this is what is causing so many digital transformation efforts to fail—not focusing on the most critical aspects first. People are what drive everything else. If we increase a bit the importance we give to transforming our teams, this will naturally lead—eventually and with the right strategies and efforts in place—to the transformation in processes and tools that our current IT era demands. Focusing on developing our workforce skills will enable new organizational capabilities, which ultimately will translate into the desired enterprise culture and the right architecture to enable digital transformation through the rest of the elements that should be involved.
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