The Four Pillars of Successful Digital Transformation

THE FOUR P I L LARS OF SUCCESS FUL D I G I TAL TRANS FORMAT I ON

OVERCOME KEY ORGANI ZAT IONAL CONFL I CTS AND KEEP YOUR TRANSFORMAT ION AGENDA IN CHECK

WHERE MOST COMPANI ES GO WRONG

Digital transformation may be the way to leapfrog your enterprise into the future, but it is complex. Call it what you will—digital transformation, modernization, platform consolidation or any other current IT buzzword—your fate is generally sealed at the onset of the program itself due to some very crucial but often overlooked factors. In its latest research, IDC cites that digital transformation accounts for over 40% of all IT spending and will be nearly $2 trillion in 2022 1 . The industry-wide failure rate for transformation initiatives currently stands at 70% 2 .

1 “Worldwide Spending on Digital Transformation Will Be Nearly $2 Trillion in 2022 as Organizations Commit to DX,

According to a New IDC Spending Guide”. IDC. https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?container- Id=prUS44440318

2 “70% of Transformation Programs Fail”. AIPMM Webinar Series. https://www.slideshare.net/aipmm/70-26633757

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WH E R E MO S T COMPAN I E S GO WRONG

The common factors affecting most digital transformation initiatives are: / Lack of understanding and documentation of current business capabilities and processes as well as technical landscapes / Absence of ongoing architectural ownership once the strategic roadmap has been defined. Many architecture teams do not get involved during implementation, so when issues arise, the executing team may resort to workarounds and go off-plan to resolve them / Agile implementation aspirations with a pervasive waterfall organizational mindset Often, these issues tend to stem from a disconnect between key groups within an organization. For example, DevOps and infrastructure are often overlooked in the preliminary planning stages, and their managers are usually brought in only after the budget, timelines, and resources have been set and approved. Additionally, once the scope of work, budget, and teams have been locked down, it is often difficult to convince your leadership for additional funding or people, should an unforeseen or overlooked issue arise. Addressing alignment between these factors up front prevents downstream ineffectiveness of the digital strategy. Misalignment leads to people getting creative and taking shortcuts.

Then, there is also the matter of baggage—the baggage of legacy systems and technical debt that needs to be handled with utmost care.

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WH E R E MO S T COMPAN I E S GO WRONG

The best outcomes require an alignment of business vision, architecture, infrastructure, and DevOps—from the very start. Proper planning is the only way to ensure your goals and objectives are aligned with your capabilities and resources.

There are four critical pillars every IT leader should focus on in order to keep the transformative journey going:

Business vision

Architectural foresight

DevOps maturity

Infrastructure agility

In this strategy brief, we cover each of these four pillars and provide an organizational health check that will take stock of your readiness to embark on a digital transformation. Knowing where your organization sits will help you execute on an initiative that accomplishes business goals, achieves architectural stability, and is delivered on time and within budget.

SUCCESSFUL DIGI TAL TRANSFORMAT ION

Delivered on time

Business goals accomplished

Architectural stability achieved

Executed within budget

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THE FOUR P I L LARS OF SUCCESSFUL DIGI TAL TRANSFORMAT ION

While everyone appreciates the game-changing power of technology, it doesn’t mean that everyone is on the same page when it comes to defining IT’s place in the enterprise. Instead of discussing and debating roles, responsibilities, and contributions within the IT-business convergence, we need to develop a synergistic alignment of the business vision, architectural foresight, DevOps maturity, and infrastructure agility. It’s a shared environment in which everyone is an equally important stakeholder and must be recognized as such. Before embarking on an initiative, it is imperative to run a thorough health check of your pillars and take stock of your organization’s readiness for the transformation initiative. Success is more likely when the four pillars of transformation are engaged and in constant interaction with each other from the start. Since each component has its own velocity of change, core mindset, and budgetary limitations, the methodology and timing of the health check would typically vary across the teams.

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P I L LAR 1 : BUS INESS V I S ION

Be realistic about what is and isn’t achievable

The primary goal of the digital transformation initiative is to enable the organization to achieve business growth and cost reductions, and to set up the organization with the ability to react promptly to business disruptors. A well-defined business vision must guide the initiative to deliver with precision the digital solutions and tools

your enterprise needs, both in the short- and long-term time horizons.

To be realistic about what is and isn’t achievable, you need to have adequate knowledge about your existing environments and be prepared to prioritize the business requirements accordingly.

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P I L L A R 1 : BU S I N E S S V I S I ON

The following measures will help you attain a solid understanding of the business capabilities and help in defining future objectives.

Health Check: How to capture an accurate picture of your business domain

Define goals in measurable terms for financial targets, performance metrics, human resources utilization, and functional benefits Maintain a good understanding and accurate documentation of business capabilities and processes in existing production systems to facilitate the transformation exercise Obtain buy-in from the other pillars on business objectives and goals—make sure these are based on the current production environments to ensure the targets are realistic and that the executing team can provide adequate support at the required time to achieve them

Collaborate with the architecture team to determine if incremental steps are needed to meet the business objectives

Be prepared with functional prioritization to support agile and iterative deployments

Brainstorm new capabilities based on technology and architecture innovation, industry trends, and disruptions

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The architecture team should define the roadmap and future direction P I L LAR 2 : ARCHI TECTURAL FORES IGHT Other parts of the organization look up to the architecture team for guidance and ownership about emerging technologies and industry trends. Strong architectural support is crucial in establishing the foundation on which to build transition state architectures iteratively. This forges a well-defined roadmap to achieving the business vision and ensures a strategic fit for future initiatives. To be recognized as trusted advisors to the business and technical teams in determining the organization’s future state architecture, the architecture team should provide dedicated project resources and be an integral part of the planning and execution of the digital strategy.

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P I L L A R 2 : A R C H I T E C T UR A L FOR E S I GH T

Health Check: Architecture’s role as a trusted advisor to the business and technical teams

Ensure that the enterprise architecture practice works as a conduit between strategic business objectives and implemented solutions Establish a mature enterprise architecture practice with autonomous funding to enable improvements in implementations tied to the digital strategy, as opposed to ivory tower architectures Identify the architectural end-state for the organization and how it strategically helps in meeting the business objectives in the short and long terms Socialize end-state and transitional state architectures with business as well as technical teams so that incremental steps are not interpreted as technical debt Maintain a good understanding of long-term business objectives as well as the current state of production systems and technological landscapes Provide proper technology tools to manage and maintain EA repositories of documented business capabilities and application landscapes, which facilitate impact analysis and change management

Emphasize researching new technology and architecture trends to become a trusted partner to business visionaries

Foster development of innovative solutions through prototyping and building reference architectures well ahead of the upcoming business initiatives

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Establish the most stable and effective development processes to support the digital initiative P I LLAR 3 : DEVOPS MATUR I TY Digital transformation initiatives leverage the current production systems as a reference point. Changes are usually built iteratively and often require modifications to existing systems to support integration with new systems. There is always resistance to change within an organization. The fear is in adding layers of bureaucracy to already existing processes. Stability and a thorough knowledge of current production systems, therefore become pivotal factors in supporting a successful digital transformation.

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P I L L A R 3 : D E VOP S MAT UR I T Y

Health Check: How DevOps can fuel the digital initiative

Ensure that the business functionalities of existing applications have been appropriately documented even if they have grown and matured organically Retain access to key resources with deep domain and application knowledge throughout the transformation initiative to assist in the definition of future business vision and validation of new systems

Be prepared with application reverse engineering tools and methodology

Ensure up-to-date source code repositories with code labeling and branching procedures

Maintain automated continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) processes to assist in the development and testing of the new solution

Obtain tools to create non-sensitive test data creation to simulate production data variance

Use managed tools for executing and reporting automated test scripts

Leverage reference architectures and adhere to standards and foundational blocks

Evaluate and recommend the most suitable development methodology based on industry and regulatory constraints

Leverage EA repository to create build artifacts based on conceptual planning details

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P I L LAR 4: INFRASTRUCTURE AGI L I TY

Ensure your infrastructure is agile enough to cater to the demands of future business function

A digital transformation cannot be completedwithout support from the infrastructure team. You need to ensure you have the capabilities for capitalizing on new opportunities when they emerge by providing successful iterative deployments, stable on-demand scalability, and accurate monitoring.

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P I L L A R 4 : I N F R A S T RU C T UR E AG I L I T Y

Health Check: Infrastructure’s key role in digital transformation

Validate the flexibility and configurability of current infrastructure to migrate to new, higher performing, and scalable infrastructure

Prepare for integration and migration of on-premise and private cloud environments to public and hybrid clouds

Maintain a well-documented technical architecture landscape with network and security details

Leverage tools to monitor and report performance metrics and health statistics

Obtain tools for automated provisioning of new environments for supporting iterative development

Prepare parallel testing environments with functional and load testing capacity

Ensure the existence of proper isolation between technical environments

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I S YOUR T R AN S FORMAT I ON AG E NDA ON T R AC K ?

The checklists are generic, as well as industry- and technology- agnostic, so most of these characteristics should apply to any environment. Project leads and executives can use the checklists to prioritize, sequence, and rationalize the issues identified, and subsequently acquire the resources needed for remediation. Many digital transformation projects have failed due to the exclusion of DevOps and infrastructure focus. If the budget and scope have already been defined, and these four pillars have yet to interact, it may be too late to have a cohesive digital strategy implementation. Some remediation or course correction would be required, and you will have to make some unpopular decisions which may not only derail the current project situation, but also cause long-term enterprise impacts. These could range from overruns in terms of cost and timelines, to compromises on functionality and unacceptable workarounds, which will inevitably result in technical debt.

Taking the time to review what was missed in the health check items may allow you to minimize long-term business impacts.

That said, you should get your ducks in a row before embarking on any initiative. Starting your journey on solid footing is far more effective and less costly than struggling further down the line to get your derailed initiative back on track.

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LET US HELP YOU CROSS THE DIGI TAL TRANSFORMAT ION CHASM

Visit us at wavestone.us or give us a call at (610) 854-2700 to see what we can do for you.

About Wavestone US

Wavestone US provides a peer-to-peer approach to IT optimization and transformation. As the North American arm of Paris-based global management and IT consulting firm Wavestone, it has supported the transformations of more than 200 Fortune 1000 companies across a wide range of industries. Wavestone US is unique in that it offers a practitioner’s perspective on IT strategy, cost optimization, operational improvements, cybersecurity, and business consulting. It is the company’s mission to help clients successfully deliver their most critical transformations and achieve positive outcomes. Driving businesses forward through digital transformation is what we call “The Positive Way”.

www.wavestone.com

In a world where knowing how to drive transformation is the key to success, Wavestone’s mission is to guide large companies and organizations in their most critical transformation projects, with the ambition of a positive outcome for all stakeholders. That’s what we call “ The Positive Way ”.

Wavestone brings together 3,000 employees across 8 countries. It is a leading independent player in the European consulting market. Wavestone is listed on Euronext Paris, and recognized as a Great Place To Work®.

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