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Transforming the Role of IT in a Digital World
By Damian Fasciani, Head of Enterprise Technology Services, REA Group
We live in a digital world where the personal and professional lives are now blurred more than ever. Technology has evolved at such a fast rate over the last two decades that modern workplaces now consume technology in many forms, both consciously and subconsciously.
Historically, IT teams have been viewed as the ‘gatekeepers’ of technology in a workplace, controlling when, where, and why tech gets used in a business. However the introduction of cloud-based platforms, social media, and a wide range of new devices and working habits has forced IT teams today to evolve or risk becoming obsolete. The consumerization of IT is real.
Adopting New Methods of Execution
People are now demanding a wide range of technology solutions to be able to execute their role effectively. Likewise, businesses want to better understand how technology is changing, what’s coming up, and how to get the best out of the tools at their disposal.
“An API-led approach can help centralise and build a sustainable environment that integrates your existing applications and minimises business challenges”
With increased demand, often requests for IT services can come at a pace that is unsustainable even for large teams, resulting in IT teams falling behind on their delivery roadmaps. I’ve been part of the traditional method of executing projects such as PMBOK and PRINCE2, and in a fast paced digital business those methods can slow you down. While these methods suit some business structures, they risk coming with a long list of sequential tasks that is very fixed. In a fast paced business with regular change, alternate methods can be better suited.
Adopting new methods of execution and re-shaping delivery processes is important to improve the effectiveness of technology services within a business.
Agile is a great method to bring people together, increase team collaboration, and deliver high value work much quicker. Variations of Agile can be structured and organized, however for it to be successful, teams adapt to a iterative style of work and with that have a structured and succinct planning and retrospective sessions.
Follow New Technology Trends
The technology journey is different for every business, but as technology evolves, more companies are exploring the strategy of deploying and managing services from the cloud as apposed on managing and maintaining legacy on premise technology.
This has meant the role of technologists today has shifted: IT teams are no longer needed to maintain server infrastructure, storage or traditional commodity services in house. Instead, the focus is now on designing an integrated user experience between staff or customers, and the technology they use.
To manage this evolution from old working ways to new, IT teams can add value to the business by monitoring and adapting to new and emerging technology trends, as well as having a clearly defined purpose and brand.
By now, most organizations would have shifted to a cloud-based model and begun implementing SaaS and IaaS applications or services, and removing tech debt. The by-product of adopting cloud-based services is that businesses be inundated with a high volume of endorsed and unrecognized SaaS applications. But as a business introduces more technology, its eco-system can become more complicated, meaning IT teams need to be finding new ways of solving unforeseen challenges.
One trend to follow is the next evolution of cloud, which will undoubtedly involve embedding an API-led strategy for simpler, smarter, and integrated cloud usage.
An API-led approach can help centralize and build a sustainable environment that integrates your existing applications and minimizes business challenges, however alignment with the right vendor is critical.
Before picking a technology in this space, IT teams should ensure their business has clearly defined IT goals, a broader technology strategy and a long term IT vision in place.
Monitor Analytics, Data and User Adoption
Rolling out a new technology in a business is only half the job. A common mistake IT teams can make is implementing a system and handing it over to a support team without ensuring that the technology has been properly adopted by the business.
Beyond the technology being accessible for staff, the real work resides in the adoption of the solution. Managing the change impact on the business, and building a need within the workplace so that everyone using the technology understands why the system is in place is critical to long term success.
The technology team of today should be looking to focus part of its efforts on user adoption, analytics, and the related data. Bringing that together will tell you a story on the impact technology has in the workplace.
Define the Use Case: Determine the how, why and what of the solution. And, partnering with the internal communications team to ensure that the reasoning behind the new technology is effectively communicated to the businesses.
Build an Adoption Plan: Defining a unique use case for each business unit (i.e. Marketing, Sales, Product, Finance). Allocate an IT project team to work with each business unit to determine how the staff will be using the technology and ensure it is implemented and used correctly.
Monitor Data: The modern workplace consumes between 500–1300 cloud-based services each month, and it’s important to understand what technologies are being used and by which parts of the business. Implementing a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) is a useful way of collecting data for regular reporting. Monthly reports on tech usage can help shape a story on how the business is both using endorsed and non-endorsed technology, which can then be used to map return on investment.
As our lives continue to become more integrated, the digital world has to evolve. IT teams will continue to be a critical function of any business as long as they transform their thinking and working methodologies, evolve their processes, and ensure the appropriate technology trends are properly invested in.
REA Group (ASX:REA) that was incorporated in 1995 is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. It is a online real estate advertising company.