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Digital transformation shifts balance in IT departments

IT leaders are shifting the focus of the IT department, providing more staff to support digital business initiatives

Despite the general lack of confidence in transformation capability, the enterprise march to digital is accelerating, according to a study from Hackett Group.

Its Closing the digital transformation confidence gap in 2017 study found that IT leaders expect 30% of their staff to be engaged in transformation efforts, and 30% of IT processes to be affected by digital initiatives in 2017.

Hackett’s research anticipates the heaviest transformation demand on IT’s time and resources will be in HR, followed by research and development, the IT function itself, procurement or the supply chain, marketing, and customer service.

Rick Pastore, senior director of the global IT executive advisory programme at Hackett Group, said: “The customer is making organisations change the way they do things, such as mobile and social IoT [internet of things].”

The study reported that innovative technology is becoming the chief catalyst of breakthrough customer value, and IT should be the primary source for identifying and introducing innovative technologies to the business.

Hackett Group recommended IT departments use outside-in thinking, working backwards from customer needs to business services to technology enablers. “Collaborate with HR, procurement and finance to pilot emerging technologies such as cognitive computing and advanced analytics,” said the report. “Become trusted advisors to business stakeholders, helping them refine and guide technology from pilot phase to mainstream adoption.”

Pastore said: “AI [artificial intelligence] and cognitive computing is the number one technology that companies are planning to pilot. It is ahead of IoT.”

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AI is being applied in advanced analytics to answer to questions that have not been asked traditionally, said Pastore. “People are keen to get their hands on advanced analytics.”

Hackett Group’s research noted that IT has an obligation to manage data to yield maximum value. “Owners of data must develop and apply enterprise-wide data stewardship, governance and master data management. Re-architect and modernise associated infrastructure and data platforms to manage ever-increasing data complexity,” said the report.

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