Why are Businesses Still Struggling with IT?

Technology is changing and reinventing itself at an exponential pace. The potential for innovation has never been greater, but the reality is that most companies are still struggling with the basics of IT and can’t capitalize on this new paradigm.

Executives feel stuck, running up against constant limitations – and sometimes excuses – when it comes to implementing change. Rather than empowering their business with teams and infrastructure that are responsive and nimble, most companies have:

  • A culture that resists change
  • Software that dictates business processes due to design constraints
  • Often disorganized or overlapping sets of software tools
  • IT processes that are poorly defined, friction laden, and lacking in best practices

Awareness isn’t the issue. Most organizations know their IT teams can be change-resistant, but the “technical” side of technology can create fear in the minds of those executives who don’t understand it.

The topic may frequently come up in boardroom discussions, but often goes nowhere. Established companies need to empower themselves by reengineering their IT from the ground up to be a player in the modern, digital landscape. It isn’t enough for IT organizations to incrementally work toward delivering digital transformation; they have to reinvent their delivery mechanism. Without this level of commitment and effort, existing businesses give way to those who embrace digital innovation and DevOps practices to quickly gain market share.

For the few established businesses that are ready to be serious about digital innovation and transformation, there is a path forward.

Related: The Rise of DevOps: Why Enterprise is Moving to DevOps

Technologists are used to change… but…

The tech landscape has evolved from workstation, to web, to cloud, to mobile in a short amount of time, bringing new development stacks and methodologies. Developers love adopting the latest in coding technologies and practices, because novelty is fun and challenging – and they want to stay relevant.

Where IT departments have lagged, however, is in how to deliver code.

When you consider that application development departments are typically managed by developers, rather than supply chain or delivery experts, it should be no surprise. But supporting a company’s digital innovation initiatives by writing code quickly is only half of the solution. You have to be able to combine writing and delivery of code as fast as possible, with minimal risks.

Although strong case studies for how to execute a digital transformation are out there, most companies try some form of incremental delivery improvement with limited success. They have initiatives to automate and test, standardize and automate the provisioning of environments, and automate deployments.

While these are key elements, the initiatives:

  • Are largely championed by internal team members who are learning as they go
  • Use internal consensus to select and implement tools
  • Use internal consensus to reengineer the delivery process
  • Incorporate current team idiosyncrasies and dysfunctions rather than starting fresh with industry best practices

What is the solution?

Ultimately, if you want to empower your organization to be a player in the digital transformation space, you need to start from scratch, create a vision for your organization, and build your IT from the ground up.

Bolting on, or adjusting an existing application delivery mechanism based on legacy practices, is unlikely to work. That is because there are so many pieces involved, and it will take enormous effort to successfully shift into a new paradigm. I equate it to pulling the band aid off. If you go too slowly, the pain may cause you to stop before you get there – and it will certainly take longer, giving newer competitors the opportunity to pass you.

But digital transformation isn’t just about pushing more code faster. It’s about embracing an innovation-forward strategy, starting at the top of the management structure. Everyone has to buy into this “new world” where you iterate quickly, deploy minimal viable products, and fail fast to hone in on the right approach and stay ahead of the competition.

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