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The CIO’s IT Transformation Survival Guide

It’s a challenging time to be a CIO in an enterprise IT environment. I’ve seen the role evolve dramatically over the years, from chief of back-office IT to dynamic business enabler. The “I” in “CIO” could now stand for “innovation” instead of “information.”

IT Transformation is one of the most daunting innovation challenges enterprises currently face. According to a recent 451 Research survey, nearly 80% of organizations need to moderately or significantly transform their IT environments to meet digital business requirements in coming years.

But what does IT Transformation really mean? At Rackspace, we think of it as bringing sense to the chaos of people, processes and technology. It’s much more than moving apps to the cloud or getting out of the data center — it’s a holistic reconsideration of how IT engages with and serves the business. It might involve reengineering software architectures, changing the way hardware is procured and where it runs, or taking a fresh look at how data is stored and processed.

So where do you start? And what will transformation look like? Our new ebook, “The CIO’s IT Transformation Survival Guide,” answers these and many other questions.

IT Transformation: The basic elements
IT Transformation is a dynamic process, and it will look different from one organization to the next. But the common goal is to move IT from being inflexible and reactive to being proactive, agile and aligned to the business. And we believe that, regardless of your hardware, software or infrastructure, the process can be divided into six actionable steps: PLAN, ASSESS, DESIGN, MIGRATE, MANAGE and OPTIMIZE.

This first step is a crucial one — it’s where you figure out how to align IT and the business. At this stage, you don’t have to worry about logistical challenges. Instead, think big and establish consensus on your goals and vision for business-IT alignment.

This is where things get a little more logistically challenging. The assessment phase requires you to look very closely at every facet of your environment. Our ebook will help you identify specific areas to evaluate and potential issues to look out for along the way.

Once you’ve assessed each area of your business, you’ll need to design your approach to transformation. You’ll want to be mindful of how an action in one area can impact other areas of the business. Stakeholder buy-in, education and communication are all critical during this phase.

The migration phase of IT Transformation is where the rubber meets the road. We recommend starting small and working your way toward incrementally larger projects. Of course, you have to consider continuity and contingency plans during this phase as well. And once you’ve completed a migration, you’ll have to iron out a new management process.

As you transform your IT department from cost center to proactive business partner, you’ll begin to see significant operational improvements. Fewer silos and automated processes will mean more time to focus on continuous, incremental improvements across your organization.

The CIO's IT Transformation Survival Guide

IT Transformation is not a one-size-fits-all approach. This framework helps you see what it looks like for your company.

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Avoiding pitfalls and wrong turns
In addition to outlining the key elements of IT Transformation, you’ll find a chapter on mistakes to avoid. Have you clearly defined your goals? Have you prioritized them correctly? Do you have the buy-in you need, and if not, do you know how to get it?

How to know when you’ve arrived
Did you meet the objectives you outlined in the beginning? Have you become the service provider of choice to the business, responsively brokering the internal and third-party cloud services end users are demanding? This ebook will help you establish both short-term and long-term KPIs to measure your success.

Real-world challenges and successes
Do your challenges include sprawling IT infrastructure, a tangle of legacy applications or the need for centralized access to data? General Electric, AstraZeneca and General Motors were all facing these issues. We’ve compiled their transformation stories, and several others, to illustrate what real-world success looks like.

Yes, IT Transformation is complicated. But we hope that this resource will clarify the process and give you greater confidence that it can lead to true innovation in your organization. “The CIO’s IT Transformation Survival Guide” is a free download, and a resource we hope you’ll reference periodically throughout your transformation.