As more and more businesses and organizations transition to digital, there can still be a disconnect between IT and the business. Even though in 2023 it is expected that digital transformation and business/IT should be integrated, there may still be some organizations that hold onto more traditional ideas and strategies.
For instance, a company may want to expand its customer base and increase revenue but may view IT as simply a department responsible for maintaining technology and staying up to date with the latest developments in fields like AI and automation.
In the ideal situation, a company’s strategy would incorporate both business and IT, with IT being seen as a way to generate revenue, not just as a cost center. If there is a disconnect between business and IT, it can have a negative impact on the strategy and the ability to create value together.
When an organization’s strategy focuses on increasing revenue and improving customer experience without taking into account the role of IT, investment in technology may decrease. This can lead to older technology infrastructure being used for customer platforms, which can ultimately result in reduced service availability and a breakdown in the co-creation of value. From what they have observed, it is common for organizations to talk about developing a comprehensive strategy, but in practice, they often prioritize one area, such as revenue, over others.
For companies that want to prioritize digital initiatives, it is important to have a holistic view and recognize that digital transformation comes at a cost. To effectively manage a mix of on-premises, hybrid, and cloud architecture, companies must be willing to invest in technology. While the cost of these investments can be intimidating, it is important to have strategic conversations and carefully consider the true cost involved. Some organizations may be tempted to take shortcuts, but these can ultimately lead to problems down the line.
ITIL 4 provides guiding principles that can help organizations think holistically about their goals and the factors driving their decision-making. For example, an organization may need to consider whether they need investors, new employees, or different skills to achieve their goals.
ITIL 4 also emphasizes the importance of effective communication and understanding how each part of the business fits into the service value chain in order to drive value co-creation. While it is natural for different parts of the organization to have their own priorities and objectives, delivering the services and value that the organization desires requires setting aside individual agendas and focusing on what is best for the customer.
Adopting ITIL 4
The businesses that are most successful at bridging the gap between business and IT often have a culture that encourages open communication and a willingness to adopt new ways of working. Adopting the ITIL 4 guiding principles, such as progressing iteratively with feedback and thinking holistically, can help organizations move away from siloed working and towards a more collaborative and value-focused culture.
If your organization is not currently operating in this way, a good first step might be to focus on improving communication and collaboration within the organization.
ITIL 4’s continual improvement model provides both a sensible starting point and a way to progress iteratively, asking:
- What is the vision?
- Where are we now?
- Where do we need to be?
- How do we get there?
- Take action
- Did we get there?
- How do we keep the momentum going?
It is not important if an organization has a low level of maturity at the outset; once you understand your starting point, using a model for continual improvement can help bring people on board with the process.
Having a framework like ITIL 4, which is not limited to IT, allows it to be applied to any part of the organization. This can help break down barriers, improve collaboration, and promote a shared understanding of how to deliver value together.
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