My two cents – the middle path for a successful digital transformation

Two Speed IT – the Middle path for a successful digital transformation

Long ago Buddha gave the theory of the middle path. Today, once again, the new age CIOs are contemplating a middle path to effectively carry out digital transformation. And, we must agree that the solution lies in the two speed IT infrastructure.

Why Digital strategies failed to achieve full digital transformation?

Not many organizations could achieve complete digital transformation till now. There are two core reasons that hindered such ambitious large scale digital transformation projects. The number one reason is that the digital strategy itself is a misnomer in the current context. And, the number two reason is that we assigned equal weightage to the consumer enterprise interface and the overall digital and human touch-points across the organization. In simple words, we tried to digitize the entire organization at the same speed.

Let’s understand in greater detail the two core factors, as mentioned above, that hindered ambitious large scale digital transformation projects.

1. Digital Strategy remains a misnomer

To survive and then make an attempt to thrive, businesses must realign themselves with the new consumer and his lifestyle. This demands a completely new look at the business strategy, embedded in the surround of digital infrastructure for a digital era. And therefore, it can not be a digital strategy in isolation and has to be a business strategy in all its comprehensiveness.

So far, most digital transformation strategies were considered to be in the domain of IT departments. So, there was not much involvement of strategic business unit leaders in making digital transformation successful. On the contrary, many SBU heads resisted change for obvious reasons such as lack of risk taking appetite or their comfort zone of the status quo. And, it wouldn’t be a great idea to blame just the SBUs and their leaders. Many CIOs failed to expand their horizon from IT to other core and support functions of the value chain.

2. Assigning equal weightage to the consumer-enterprise interface and other human-and-machine touch-points

It’s true that today’s digital consumers can only be served by digital employees. However, we need to accept that changing the mindset of the existing workforce may take longer than we think. Although this should be the ultimate goal of an organization to turn every employee into a digital employee, it’s not a feasible option in the face of the fierce competition. A simplistic way would be to take consumer and employee as two pivots around which new alignments and new strategies could be drawn. Hence it would be a better idea to build a parallel army of digital employees to cater to the segment that demands more weightage. And this segment, of-course, is the consumer-enterprise interface. Departments that do not fall in the consumer-enterprise interface and particularly the ones most resistant to change may be assigned lesser weightage while carrying out org wide digital transformation.

How can two speed IT infrastructure help?

With two speed IT, organizations can maintain two different teams concerned about two different roles. One team can be your existing IT team that takes care of your existing systems. They keep them rock solid and do not allow them to fail. And at the same time, you can have your second IT team that’s altogether a new team that works on technology stacks that enable them to be quick on the development and use the latest and innovative technologies that help them bring their ideas to fruition very fast without risking the status quo of your existing IT. They can deliver consumer-centric products faster and offer continuous innovation that have so far been stifled by the existing processes of working and outdated technology architectures. And now, that IT is at “two speed”, there is no cultural tension between the old school employees and the new-age digital employees that are building cool digital applications for the consumers segment that has undergone a massive paradigm shift in consumer behavior and changed lifestyle approaches due to technology adoption at scale.

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