- July 25, 2019
- Catagory digital transformation
IT agility is a key element of successful digital transformation, and it means having the right people doing the right job. It may also mean not hiring a person, but a service provider instead.
Knowing when you should hire a full-time employee or when you should outsource an IT function requires a clear understanding of your IT strategy, what roles you have filled and what positions you’re missing. Most importantly, IT agility means recognizing that while some job titles haven’t changed, the work these people do day to day has changed over the years, and digital transformation will continue to influence the evolution of the IT department.
Digital transformation has redefined roles
Managing IT is a different job than it was decade ago, and digital transformation continues to spark changes to job descriptions, as well as the responsibilities of the entire IT team.
It’s no longer enough to keep the engine running. IT agility demands that you be more strategic and align with the organization’s overall business strategy while facing heavier workloads. In the late ’90s, a system administrator spent most of the their time supporting computer hardware and telecommunications for desktop users, but today a big part of the job is maintaining multiple endpoints, including user, access, and device policies, while also monitoring many physical and virtual environments, many of which are hosted in the cloud.
IT managers, meanwhile, are now tasked to do more than just develop and manage applications. They must also keep tabs on technologies around the corner that might deliver business value and justify their inclusion in the IT budget, as well as demonstrate how they can create competitive advantage. IT managers must also be more security focused than ever, and likely working with an IT security team, or even a Chief Security Officer (CISO).
And let’s not forget the CIO, a role that’s been on the rise the past 20 years and is probably the best example of how IT teams and jobs have evolved since the turn of the century. CIOs—and CISOs, as well—are spending more time in the C-suite, and their job has gone far beyond just keeping the lights on.
Support IT agility with automation
No matter what you’re called—CIO, CTO or IT director—your role is more dynamic and challenging than ever. You’re probably having to do more with less, including tackling a digital transformation agenda as well as keeping the organization secure.
Digital transformation involves some strategic thinking, but it also means you’re looking at how you can migrate away from legacy infrastructure to new technology systems that will be flexible and scalable over the longer term. It also means involves fostering cultural change.
To deliver value to the organization and keep it secure, IT leaders and their teams must be more agile. Developing IT agility means making the most of your staff and making sure they’re focused on strategic activities—not bogged down by repetitive tasks that can be automated. Automation enables you to get more done without adding to your headcount and can also give you some clarity as to what people need to be doing and what skills are needed to get the work done.
Having the right IT skills is a perennial problem, and a lack of skills, especially around security, puts an organization at risk. Filling the skills gap is a priority for any leader as it’s necessary for meeting their digital transformation goals as well as maintaining compliance in increasingly regulated business environments thanks to legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Ideally, IT agility feeds itself—as you become more agile and identify where you need to improve, your team becomes more empowered to tackle new problems and come up with creative solutions.
The competitive advantage of “people on demand”
Beyond automating things people shouldn’t be and addressing the skills gaps in your IT team, you need to think about what might be done outside of the organization more cost-effectively.
Given your strategic goals including your digital transformation efforts, do you really want your IT staff trouble shooting end user problems? Do you want your IT people worried about keeping toners in copiers or the printers from being hacked? Can you afford to pay a premium to keep a database administrator on staff when they may be idle half the week?
Just as you’re able to scale up computing on demand via the cloud, you can complement your in-house team with part-time talent on-demand to achieve the IT agility necessary to push your digital transformation agenda forward.
Sanjeev Spolia is CEO of Supra ITS.