A sound IT foundation starts at the top

building construction frame

IT modernization is essential for enterprises that want to successfully compete in the digital economy. But IT modernization in and of itself is pointless, costly, and self-defeating unless it directly serves the strategic goals of the organization and can scale and accelerate to meet the performance needs of the business.

Strong leadership can help IT transformation attain both strategic and technical goals.

“Successful digital transformation requires a considerable amount of faith, confidence and perseverance at the highest levels of the organization.” – Leading Edge Forum

In a research report on achieving business transformation, Leading Edge Forum tops a 10-step transformation action plan with these two points on leadership:

  • Establish visible C-level advocacy, commitment and participation
  • Communicate a clear and specific mission, need, purpose and funding model

Without that executive vision and leadership, none of the other eight steps Leading Edge Forum lists are possible.

Clear goals and execution

At its most effective, IT modernization allows enterprises to introduce products, services, and business models that can disrupt industries, displace market leaders, and establish new best practices.

However, without a solid foundation that is data-centric, secure, adaptive, operationally efficient, and cost-efficient, IT modernization is an unattainable goal, and business transformation a virtual impossibility.

A carefully planned and well-executed IT modernization initiative can drive business transformation across an organization’s operations and culture and serve as a springboard for innovation and collaboration.

It can successfully integrate existing IT infrastructure with cloud-based tools and applications – including artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics – and provide secure access to data throughout the enterprise as needed.

Effective IT modernization can also equip the organization to roll out new business products, services, systems, and processes in response to rapidly changing business opportunities and market dynamics.

Five pitfalls to a successful IT modernization

Unfortunately, many enterprises unwittingly doom their IT modernization initiatives by succumbing to the following pitfalls:

  1. Some organizations cling to aging IT equipment that is incapable of supporting dynamic digital applications or integrating with newer systems.
  2. Some may be slow to migrate mission-critical workloads to the cloud or to deploy automation to optimize performance and reduce costs.
  3. Others may shy away from seemingly complex hybrid environments that provide the workload flexibility and operational agility integral to business transformation.
  4. Organizations also may undermine their IT modernization efforts by failing to implement lean and agile software development methods or to incorporate DevSecOps practices that bake in security and trusted access across all IT environments.
  5. Finally, IT modernization can be thwarted when enterprises lack the skills and learning culture necessary to take advantage of AI, machine learning, hybrid clouds, and other emerging technologies.

Any of these pitfalls can be avoided by strong enterprise leadership. A sound IT foundation may be built from the bottom up, but it must be rooted in a commitment and clarity of purpose from the top.

See the Leading Edge Forum research report, “A tale of two missions: from IT modernization to business transformation.”

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