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Transforming the Technology Function for Strategic Success: 4 Key Steps

Produced by Airwalk Reply Partner Alex Hammond and Business Development Consultant Verity Fletcher

Digital transformation is critical for organisations in today's rapidly evolving landscape. It offers many benefits, such as reducing operational costs, increasing agility, fostering innovation, and enhancing the overall customer experience. Technology plays a pivotal role in realising these advantages, making the technology function an essential strategic enabler for any organisation. 

However, achieving these transformational goals presents several challenges, including legacy systems, complex operations, and high costs. This article explores four critical steps to create a modern and strategic technology function and offers actionable approaches to address common challenges.

Step 1: Align with Organisational Objectives

Define Your Team's Purpose: Establish a clear strategy for your technology function to understand why your team exists and what it aims to achieve.

Engage with Your Business: Ensure active engagement between your teams and the broader organisation or business to align technology efforts with the organisational goals.

Create the Business Case: Develop a compelling business case that emphasises the value delivered to the organisation rather than solely focusing on technology.

Your target: 

  • Precise alignment between the technology function's objectives and the organisation's goals. 
  • Secure sponsorship and engagement from your business leaders for significant change initiatives. 
  • Creating strong business cases that track back to the technology function's objectives.

Consider this: 

  • Does your budget and project portfolio align with organisational objectives? 
  • Are business stakeholders involved in your delivery teams? 
  • Do you have well-defined business cases for your initiatives?

Step 2: Address the Operating Model Alongside Technology

Modernise the Operating Model: Ensure that your technology function evolves its operational practices and ways of working in parallel with technological advancements.

Invest in People Development: Balance hiring new talent with upskilling existing team members and investing in their growth.

Create Strategic Partnerships: Collaborate with partners that complement your capabilities, fostering a symbiotic relationship rather than relying solely on traditional service providers.

Implement effective Governance: Put in place governance practices that support, rather than hinder, the benefits of your transformation.

Your target: 

  • Achieve a harmonious blend of updated technology and modernised operating models.
  • Invest in people development and build internal capability while leveraging partners to support these endeavours.
  • Implement governance that strikes the right balance between flexibility and control.

Consider this: 

  • Have your team structures and operational methods evolved in your transformation journey? 
  • Are you leveraging a mix of partners to complement your internal capabilities? 
  • Do your processes facilitate and enhance the benefits of your transformation efforts?

Step 3: Prioritise and Commit

Prioritise: Identify and prioritise initiatives that align with your organisation's strategic objectives and commit to their success.

Allocate Resources: Ensure that projects receive the necessary investments and resources for successful execution.

Balance Your Approach: Balance short-term value generation and long-term strategic initiatives.

Your target: 

  • Prioritise your change portfolio based on the organisation's strategic objectives, securing the required funding and resources.
  • Establish clarity in each initiative's purpose, value delivery, and long-term strategic alignment.

Consider this: 

  • Do you have a clear prioritisation strategy for your change portfolio? 
  • Are your key projects adequately funded and resourced? 
  • Is your organisation willing to make long-term strategic investments when necessary?

Step 4: Invest in Your People

Appoint Dedicated Transformation Leaders: Assign dedicated and qualified transformation leaders to guide your initiatives.

Communicate and Engage: Ensure effective communication of the reason behind your transformation efforts to engage and align your teams.

Develop Skills: Invest in training and development for your team members, providing them with the skills needed to execute your transformation plans.

Foster Strategic Partnerships: Engage with third parties who will help you achieve your strategy

Your target: 

  • Develop a solid and capable transformation leadership team with clear accountability.
  • Empower your delivery teams to execute, and invest in their skills development. 

Consider this: 

  • Is there clear ownership of your key initiatives?
  • Are your teams motivated and well-informed about the purpose of their work?
  • Do your teams possess the necessary skills, and are your partners supporting your long-term goals?

To summarise:

  1. Align with the Business: Ensure alignment of your technology function's objectives with the broader organisational goals, engage business stakeholders, and prioritise business value in your business cases.
  2. Modernise the Operating Model: Evolve your operational practices alongside technological advancements and focus on developing your internal capabilities.
  3. Prioritise and Commit: Prioritise initiatives based on organisational objectives, secure adequate funding and resources, and balance short-term gains with long-term strategic initiatives.
  4. Invest in Your People: Appoint transformation leaders, engage your teams, invest in their skill development, and establish partnerships enabling long-term capabilities.

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