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Navigating the Treacherous Terrain of IT Transformation

The path to IT Transformation can be daunting. Say you start with a clear idea and decide to take the actionable steps recommended by the experts: Plan, Assess, Design, Migrate and Manage, and Optimize. But then, as always, reality happens:

  • The budget shrinks or expenses are higher than anticipated.
  • You can’t find enough employees with the right skill sets.
  • You thought you had conquered sprawl, but a business unit has an extra database platform you didn’t account for in the beginning.
  • Hidden cybersecurity vulnerabilities were unaccounted for, leaving you open to cyberattacks.

Unfortunately, the list of potential pitfalls is long. But there are ways to avoid problems. You can start by identifying issues that may pop up at each stage of the journey. Here’s a guide to some of the key questions you should be asking and steps you should be taking:

Plan: Have you identified all stakeholders and gained consensus on how IT will contribute to the overall business strategy? This will help you determine which workloads, applications and IT systems to outsource. Have you identified security needs and risks? Have you identified governance issues and created a communication plan?

Assess: What do you discard, what do you keep, and what areas of the business and infrastructure are affected? At this stage, you should inventory and evaluate all areas of IT, including workloads, applications, workflows, systems and data centers. Remember, IT Transformation is not just about technology; it’s about people and processes.

Design: Is your new solution scalable and cost-effective? Are your platforms stable, resilient and secure? You should be designing your architecture and processes at this point in the journey, which means accounting for all new business requirements and identifying—and resolving—any security, hardware and network dependencies. Can you do this alone, or do you need outside consulting? Have you identified and researched potential suppliers? Are you ready to choose providers and sign contracts?

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Migrate and Manage: Are you ready to test your plan and conduct a proof-of-concept migration? Make sure you install the proper security measures during all phases of the migration. If necessary, be prepared to re-architect applications for the cloud. And, please, have a continuity and contingency plan. Once you’ve migrated your first round of data and applications, you can move other applications according to your project plans. Make sure you can manage the day-to-day elements of your new state with close monitoring of performance. The last thing you need is dissatisfied customers or employees.

Optimize: With IT Transformation, you are never done. Done well, it can be a virtuous circle, feeding on successful customer engagements and interactions. But success takes constant vigilance. Have you identified the new focus and role of IT? How are you measuring success? How will employee culture evolve? IT is now much more tightly aligned with the business, which means IT leaders have to be thinking beyond technology: Is IT meeting the needs of customers and employees? Can IT attract and retain top talent? Is IT driving innovation?

Conclusion
Ready for your journey? Before you get started, take a moment to review our interactive infographic covering the same theme we’ve discussed here: Navigating the Treacherous Terrain of IT Transformation. It provides more detail on dealing with potential pitfalls (and it’s a bit more fun). Once you’ve explored the infographic, learn even more with our new ebook, “The CIO’s Survival Guide to IT Transformation.”

And when you’re ready to venture into the world of IT Transformation, we’re here to help. Our Professional Services team has successfully guided many travelers along this journey—and we can do the same for you.

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