How IT Transformation is like Remodeling the Family Room

In an age of ultrafast broadband, digital streaming, smartphones, flatscreens, and wireless smart speakers, why would someone choose to keep their 6-disc CD changer, rear-projection TV, 200-capacity CD rack, and speaker wires running through walls and ceilings? You wouldn’t, so why does your business still have a server closet in the office?

Few consulting terms make an executive’s eyes glaze over faster than “IT Transformation.” The idiom is vague, conjures images of endless technical jargon, and is self-aggrandizing, implying that only IT professionals are involved or making it happen. Real IT Transformation is none of those things, and many businesses fail to take advantage of the opportunity presented by such an initiative simply because it has terrible PR.

A well-planned and executed IT Transformation has much more in common with updating your family entertainment room than you might think. Just like how we’ve adapted to on-demand streaming to keep our families (and children) happy, in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven business world, IT Transformation is becoming increasingly important for companies to remain competitive. Your employees and customers are more mobile, more connected, and have more expectations around data availability than ever before. If your systems cannot keep up, you may find yourself as irrelevant as a VHS player in a teenager’s bedroom.

This white paper explores the benefits of IT Transformation and how it can drive business value.

First and foremost, IT Transformation projects must be aligned with an organization’s overall business strategy to ensure 100% focus on driving business value, as defined by business leadership. Transformation starts with identifying key business objectives and determining how IT can support them. IT is not the architect of this type of initiative; it is the general contractor. To skip this step virtually guarantees failure. Doing this properly and with discipline unlocks many benefits:

Improved Security and Risk Management

Cybersecurity breaches and data thefts are much more visible and carry larger penalties than they did in the past, and no modern IT Transformation effort would be complete without a thorough review of your risk profile from a commercial and legal standpoint. A greater understanding of the financial risk of a breach often supports the business case for additional resources to enable the incorporation of security improvements across the organization. Implementing advanced security measures such as data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and intrusion detection systems can help prevent data breaches and protect sensitive information from cyber threats. Advanced analytics tools can help organizations detect and respond to security threats more quickly, further reducing the risk of data loss or theft, protecting both the business and ensuring customer security confidence in your brand. 2022 data records indicate that there were over 4100 disclosed data breaches, approximately 22 billion records disclosed.1

The IT Transformation process provides the opportunity to review and understand the value of many security improvements and how they might specifically impact your organization:

  • Centralization of security policies and procedures: consolidation and standardization of IT systems and processes allow organizations to establish a central framework for security policies and procedures, leading to smoother implementation with stronger security controls across an entire organization.
  • Automation of security processes: the automation of security processes, such as vulnerability scanning, threat detection, and incident response enables faster and more efficient detection and response.
  • Improved monitoring and reporting: better monitoring and alerting platforms help organizations identify patterns and trends in security incidents, enabling them to take proactive measures to reduce the risk of future incidents.
  • Capabilities to combat phishing: the implementation of security technologies that secure access to your data, such as multifactor authentication (MFA), single-sign-on (SSO), and identity and access management (IAM) systems better protect sensitive data and dramatically reduce the risk of unauthorized access from phishing attacks or stolen passwords.
  • Enhanced training and awareness: IT transformation provides opportunities for enhanced training and awareness of security risks and best practices among employees. This can help organizations establish a culture of security and ensure that all employees understand their role in maintaining a secure IT environment.

Increased Efficiency

IT Transformation can help organizations become more efficient by highlighting existing manual processes that would benefit from automation to improve workflows. With the implementation of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and robotic process automation (RPA), companies can streamline repetitive tasks, reduce errors, and increase productivity. For example, RPA can automate mundane tasks such as data entry, freeing up employees’ time to focus on higher-value tasks like data analysis. This leads to increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.

Improved Agility

Agility refers to an organization’s ability to quickly adapt to changing market conditions, customer needs, and global events. The IT Transformation process can help organizations become more agile by giving business leaders a direct forum in which to communicate what they need to enable them to respond quickly to changes in the business environment. Cloud computing, for example, allows organizations to quickly scale up or down their IT infrastructure to meet changing demand. Modern data visualization tools allow new metrics and dashboards to be created in minutes as opposed to days or weeks, giving sales teams critical insights when time is a factor.

Enhanced Innovation

IT transformation can also enable companies to become more innovative by providing access to new technologies and tools. The implementation of advanced analytics tools can help companies gain insights into customer behavior and market trends which can be used to drive innovation and product development opportunities. Adoption of emerging technologies such as blockchain, IoT, and AI can lead to new product and service offerings, as well as new business models.

Improved Customer Experience

IT transformation can improve the customer experience by providing faster and more convenient access to products and services. Implementation of self-service portals enables customer access information and services 24/7 without the need for human intervention, allowing faster response times, increased customer satisfaction, and improved customer loyalty. The use of data analytics enables organizations to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and needs, which can be used to personalize the customer experience and improve customer retention.

Improve Operational Efficiency

Inefficient IT systems can be a significant drain on an organization’s resources, impacting productivity, and profitability. IT transformation can help organizations streamline their IT operations, automating manual processes, and consolidating systems to reduce complexity and improve efficiency, therefore, redirecting resources towards strategic initiatives that drive business growth.

Reduced Costs

IT transformation can help organizations reduce costs by optimizing processes, improving efficiency, and reducing waste. For example, the implementation of cloud computing can reduce infrastructure costs by eliminating the need for on-premise servers and storage. Additionally, the use of RPA can reduce labor costs by automating repetitive tasks. These cost savings can be reinvested into the business to drive growth and innovation.

Key Considerations for IT Transformation

While IT transformation can provide significant benefits, it is important to carefully consider the process of transformation. Some key considerations include:

Implementation Strategy

It is crucial to be in lock-step with the business’ vision, strategy and roadmap to ensure goals, support, and outcomes are aligned. IT transformation should be implemented in a strategic and phased approach, it is not a one-time event. This allows organizations to gradually modernize their IT infrastructure, while minimizing disruption to ongoing operations.

Tracking improvement

Does the proposed IT Transformation have a Business Case? Traditionally most organizations don’t track the measurable mileposts, estimated cost versus actual, and success criteria during implementation to validate the spend. Knowing where the program is and progress against the stated outcomes creates accountability, ownership, and in many cases motivation for the organization to complete the play.

Summary

At Liberty Advisor Group, we know Technical Due Diligence: With the constantly evolving and growing data landscape, the importance of focusing on tech in M&A will continue to grow: The expertise to interpret analytics and data-oriented product offerings is more paramount than ever before: Understanding Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI solutions and why they are beneficial is something Liberty Advisor Group focuses on daily within our M&A Transaction Services Practice: We are here to help.

Footnotes:

  1. HBR

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