Steve is the global CIO of a large financial services company that provides multiple financial products and services to a global clientele, both retail and institutional. Steve is a worried man. He picks up the phone and speaks with Mike who is a leading digital transformation consultant and executive coach. Steve knows Mike from earlier stints they did together but has recently engaged his services to guide him on the enterprise wide digital transformation embarked on by the firm’s CEO.
Steve rattles out his worries one after the other. “Mike, as you know, we operate in an industry that is highly regulated but at the same time facing cut-throat competition, with ever shrinking margins and eroding market share. Our CEO wants to totally reimagine our business, become more agile and innovative, offer banking as a service, partner with a set of FinTechs, and slash the Tech & Ops TCO by at least 25% within the next 12 months. Our Cloud adoption has been very nascent, and we have critical applications running on-premise database and other software that really cost me a bomb every year. On top of it, traditionally my teams don’t have an enviable record of delivering software on time or within budget. I am worried about the lack of business knowledge and skills of my teams. We recently had a major IT change resulting from a new regulation that was highly pervasive in nature, and I found out we did not have a single person in my department who knew the whole application landscape end-to-end. I want to move most of my systems to the Cloud, adopt Agile and DevOps, and also seriously look at evaluating one or two Low-Code / No-Code platforms to speed up my software development and delivery. How do I go about this and what should I prioritize to do first? I really want to get my overall strategy around all these topics right so that I am ready to take advantage of all these new technologies and ways of working over the next 2-3 years.”
If you were Mike, what would you recommend to Steve?
Mike is a pro and has helped many organizations in their digital transformation journey. He knows that Steve needs an overall Digital Transformation Roadmap that is aligned with his CEO’s digital business strategy. Key ingredients of the Roadmap will be:
- An assessment of the Digital Readiness of Steve’s organization from a People, Process, Customer, Technology, and Financial perspectives – to identify the gaps and opportunities with respect to the what the business needs
- Creation of a comprehensive Digital IT Strategy and Architecture that is aligned to the Digital business strategy, that spans across Business process/application/technical/data architecture
- Cloud adoption and migration strategies and approaches
- A Digital IT Operating Model, incorporating an Agile way of collaborating closely with the business, using DevOps and Low-Code/No-Code platforms to speed up software development and delivery
Mike is very clear about the first priority; he agreed with Steve that the biggest concern that merited first attention was the lack of business knowledge, end-to-end knowledge of their systems and the skills of his teams. This points to a big gap in the People and Process perspectives of Digital Readiness and Mike tells Steve that he is going to start there. Whether it is Cloud adoption or creating a new architecture or putting in place a new application development paradigm and platform, underpinning all of this will be a key set of artifacts and capabilities:
- Knowledge-base of what end-to-end business capabilities the various systems provide, in the form of an enterprise application and information architecture
- Structured base-lining of skills of every IT employee and business employee who interacts with IT, gap analysis with respect to a desired future state, and a roadmap to address the skill gaps
- Immediate launching of an IT organization-wide learning initiative to get every IT employee a deep understanding of the firm’s business processes, with an emphasis on the end-to-end process and how the processes add value to the end-customer.