3 mistakes to avoid during an IT transformation

Stephan Badal
5 min read
Congratulations. If you’re reading this, my guess is that you’ve decided it’s finally time to undertake that transformation your IT department, and business, is crying out for. In doing so, you’ll move from a scattered landscape of legacy IT systems and short-term solutions - where risks, errors and headaches abound - to an integrated IT environment that unlocks digital enterprise and efficiencies across value streams.
Before you launch straight into upheaving your organisation and begin coming up with new, ad-hoc solutions, let’s walk through the pitfalls you want to ensure you avoid. Spoiler alert: each of these mistakes can be avoided with the adoption of the IT4IT™ Reference Architecture’ [1], but more on that later.

1. Solving problems in isolation

In the IT management landscape, all elements are integrated and dependent on each other - and all need to be in order for IT to run successfully. However, a common and grave error is honing in on only one of those components (and its issues) at a time. 
During an IT transformation, and beyond, you need to approach every problem with an integrated view. That starts by looking at each of the multiple elements needed to be able to run IT as a business – and how those elements intertwine and impact each other. Don’t start by putting out the fire, first look at what’s causing the fire and take out the cause itself.
In tandem, you need to go deeper and dive into the details. Within each element there are six parts to evaluate: people, processes, tools, data, controls and integrations. At this level of detail, you’ll be able to identify the cause of that fire in no time - and put it out in a way that’s sustainable and doesn’t trigger incidents elsewhere.
Taking an isolated point of view is a common mistake when organisations launch new systems and solutions. It can be particularly risky if those organisations are long established and backed up by a complex network of legacy IT systems. Leaving IT departments without insight into which services might be impacted if they start tuning one select service, or even what the criticality of each interlinked service is.
Don’t be that CIO awake at night worrying that when that update goes live tomorrow another system might collapse - always work in an integrated way.

2. Focusing on operations only 

There are four phases (value streams) across the IT management capability view and all four need your undivided attention. All too often though, the final ‘operations’ phase gets an unfair share of the focus. 
That is, IT departments dedicate too much time to fixing and updating realised services during an IT transformation. What’s the problem with that, you might ask? Well, doing so results in quick fixes to keep customers or the business happy but it doesn’t account for the bigger picture.
Actions and mindsets are in the present and not from an enterprise point of view. Instead, you need to look at what you are providing to your customers in the long-term and ensure this IT transformation works towards fine-tuning your portfolio. That also means gathering insights that will guide you to know when to kill ‘zombie’ projects, products or services. 
By taking one step back and ensuring your IT transformation has impact across all value streams, you’ll drive efficiencies, innovations and customer satisfaction, both internally and externally.

3. Not being able to justify investment

For CIOs, the biggest headache during an IT transformation comes down to justifying the investment - of costs, focus areas and time. 
The truth is many IT leaders cannot tell their CFOs exactly why the organisation needs an IT transformation, how they plan to execute it or, crucially, how much it will cost. They're lacking a transparent, integrated overview of how IT elements operate together, what the priority areas are, and a breakdown of the investment required.
An IT transformation is not something you implement within a year. It’s a long-term, ongoing process, so having a transparent overview at your fingertips is vital for keeping business leaders on board and employees engaged. Without it, teams don’t know where they fit into the bigger picture and can therefore lose motivation. 
This is an undertaking that needs clear explanations at a top level and from an employee perspective - and both need progress updates along the way. That way everyone will feel part of the journey to turning those red components, orange - and those orange components, green.

The solution for avoiding IT transformation mistakes: IT4IT

The overriding solution to these three pitfalls is an integrated, transparent view of the entire IT management capability. IT4IT is a Reference Architecture that provides that view - and more - so you can ensure a focus on the big picture and get an understanding of where to adjust and fine-tune the IT Operating Model to be able to deliver IT services faster, better, cheaper and at lower risk.
Providing practical lines of action to make a controlled changeover to becoming a fast, agile IT organisation, IT4IT works seamlessly together with ITIL, COBIT and ISO/IEC 20000. In conjunction with the framework, our consultants take a hands-on approach in actioning IT4IT effectively on all levels: tailored design, implementation and on-goingsupport. So, you can rest assured you have both the framework and the expert guidance for undertaking a successful transformation.
To dive deeper into the process of an IT transformation, and how IT4IT can help you execute it, download our whitepaper: The Digital Transformation with IT4IT
Download the IT4IT whitepaper 
Or, to find out more about how we can help you, arrange a no-strings-attached consultancy appointment: 
[1] IT4IT is a registered trademark of The Open Group
This blog post belongs in the series: IT transformation 

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