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From Order Taker to Opportunity Maker…IT’s Digital Transition for Driving the Business

Matt Smith
Reading: From Order Taker to Opportunity Maker…IT’s Digital Transition for Driving the Business

Here are some fun facts:

  • The first company founded to provide software products and services was Computer Usage Company in 1955.
  • Professions such as Medicine, Law, Beauty, Teaching, Transportation, Security, Accounting, Engineering, and Project Management all have one thing in common; certifications and internal governance.

Almost shocking to think about how much younger the IT profession is in comparison to the other professions. Even more mind-bending is to pause for a moment and reflect on how much technology has advanced in such a relatively short time frame.

Think of all the breakthrough advancements in just the last 20 years in the medicine, transportation, accounting, and engineering professions. It’s absolutely astounding.

Now, think really hard and attempt to discover if any of those advancements were possible without leveraging technology? Any?

Let’s face it, IT has historically accepted the role of the “order taking – behind the scenes” group hidden from society. For many years, there has been a clear division between “the business” and IT.

Now here we are, amidst the new era; waist-deep in Digital Transformation and yet many still haven’t quite connected the dots; folks – nothing can be done without IT.

It’s fascinating to think that IT, the youngest of all the professions is leading the digital transformation revolution. Now more than ever, IT leaders are being called upon to move past partnering—and start driving the business.

A business-partnering IT organization is the order taker, and it’s this model that has fueled the thinking that over half of IT organizations are still regarded primarily as a support function, not a strategic organization. IT leaders have suffered the fate from the business perceptions of “IT takes forever to get things done,” eroding trust and ultimately perceived that “IT expenses have become a cottage industry that achieved full cost transparency.”

A business-driving IT organization, on the other hand, is the opportunity maker. IT leaders driving the business are working with (not for) other leaders to continuously deliver value, manage on-demand, architect process change for business growth, becoming strategic advisors, and navigate through technology changes.

Making this transformation from an order taker to an opportunity maker has not—and does not—come easily. However, when done right, it will radically unlock the potential of your company.

It takes more than a few Scrum teams to solve the Transformation puzzle. It involves more than just IT. It requires the entire organization.

At LeadingAgile, the Transformation journey starts by focusing on predictability. Teams delivering on a predictable cadence earn the trust of the business. Pretty soon, business and IT leaders join forces to orchestrate dependencies and implement Lean pull systems. This keeps the teams fed with smaller batches of work and moderates the work in progress. As the Transformation scales, leadership ensures that appropriate clearing and conditions are upheld:

  1. Form Complete Cross-Functional teams at ALL levels of the organization. (Delivery-level to Leadership)
  2. Manage the flow of work, balance capacity against demand, and ensure teams have a well-groomed backlog of work at all times.
  3. Hold Teams, as well as overall organization, accountable for producing a working tested increment of product on a regular cadence
  4. Aggressively manage dependencies and help the organization break dependencies over time. Dependencies always limit business Agility.

Over the past few years, IT leaders and executives have become savvy. They clearly understand the importance of not just Agile Transformation, but more so broad-scale organizational that leverages Agility.

What this means is that clever CIOs and IT leaders influence investment and portfolio tiers to ensure priority and alignment are stabilized and streamlined. Successful Transformations that take the necessary steps to holistically engage the entire organization’s broad-scale Agile Transformation ensure that investors and senior leaders are committed to spanning strategy, value creation, and value delivery.

IT leaders that are driving the business are privileged to establish strategically aligned objectives and support key results, contributing to the creation of opportunities to grow the business, encapsulating and organizing value creation and delivery portfolios, baselining capacity and course-correcting to ensure the supply and demand mix are realistic and creating product and service key performance indicators to better understand performance in the market.

Business drivers have the ability to seize the opportunity of broad-scale Agile Transformations and formations as decision-makers. They co-create the Supply Mix and Demand Modeling, setting the table for alignment, prioritization and encapsulation. They work across the business to understand Impact, Confidence, and Ease scoring is applied so that ideas, initiatives, and objectives may be clearly communicated and understood quickly. They share in the conduction of Risk & Asset Allocation analysis in order to provide for optimizing and sound decision making. Last but not least, business drivers continuously leverage Value Proposition modeling; looking through the lens of the customer to gather invaluable information for creation, delivery, alignment, and return.

IT has come a very long way in a short time, especially during these past few years. Successful Transformation efforts that are sticky and get deeply rooted:

  1. Are aligned both horizontally and vertically; Holistically aligned to stretch across the business and positioned to grow vertically; engaged ownership throughout the organization from top to bottom; Investment, Portfolio, Program and Team environments are synchronized for success.
  2. Position IT as a business driver and opportunity maker.
  3. Ensure there is clear alignment and that prioritization is tightly coupled with highly encapsulated systems of value creation and delivery.
  4. Include Agile investors and senior leaders that are committed to spanning strategy, value creation, and value delivery.

IT and Business leaders… get out in front of your digital Transformation. Make the change from order taker to opportunity maker; drive the business together.

At LeadingAgile, our Investment and Portfolio Tier Transformations create the Agile state for better business outcomes. Let’s build something amazing together.

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