Benchmarking the Benchmarks

StrataFusion clients span just about every industry, and we hear from them frequently asking for assessments and benchmarks so they can compare their performance, cost, or compliance information with similar companies. While business overall is relying on data and insights more than ever, benchmarking information can be scarce for mid-sized companies.

In our research, we see current benchmarking information is formed around basic performance or cost, and that is not a good reflection of today’s IT challenges; or, more importantly, the direction IT needs to go to achieve future business outcomes. As companies across industries continue to deal with the complexity of digital transformation, and even the transformation of their own IT departments, we know most benchmarks out there aren’t actually addressing the issues they face. What’s needed are benchmarks that identify and drive the strategic value of IT services.

Partnering with our clients and industry thought leaders, StrataFusion is developing benchmarks and metrics that address the key business concerns that are challenging IT leaders and organizations.  Areas of focus include revenue generation and management, digitization, process change, collection and use of data, velocity of change, responsiveness and customer focus.

As we continue benchmarking, we have some additional topics on the radar, such as communicating with the Board, transformation and Cloud readiness, and easy no-brainer IT wins.

Your input is welcome, so feel free to share your thoughts and questions at SFGBenchmarking@StrataFusion.com.

Maureen Vavra

Will Digital Transformation Ever End?

Three focus areas to help business navigate never-ending change

Technology is changing the world faster than ever before. As consumers and as business leaders, we now navigate each day with an expectation of change.  The digital transformation that is sweeping the economic landscape certainly makes for exciting experiences but also requires businesses to be more agile than ever before and quickly adapt to market needs.

So what should technology leaders do to help the business adapt?

  1. Be part of strategic decision-making: Today’s technology leaders aren’t just focused on the network and systems. Modern technology strategy is crucial to innovation and should be focused on holistic business adaptability and helping their organization rapidly develop high-quality products and services to drive customer experience. Internal business partners must also leverage technology to accomplish their goals and seize opportunities.
  2. Know the customer and provide an incredible experience: You don’t have to look far to see major consumer disruption examples, from the way people want to shop, bank and travel. The same is true for business customers. But too often, technology leaders become bogged down in the actual technology and lose track of their customers and what they need. Leaders should be talking to customer regularly to understand the problems they are solving. In fact, 62 percent say delivering an excellent customer experience defines success as a digital-first business. Check out IDG’s 2018 State of Business Transformation.
  3. Be agile and be fast: Fast-moving change is one thing business leaders can all count on. With blockchain, IoT, big data, and mobile computing becoming mainstream topics, the never-ending “need for speed” will continue fueling transformation. Technology leaders are key players who must strategically guide organizations through disruption and provide the insights and expertise for decisive decision-making to move fast.

So will digital transformation at some point end? Yes and no. With the expectation of never-ending disruption ahead, what will come after the “digital” transformation — the AI transformation or the VR transformation? Whatever it is, change-ready technology leaders who are focused on strategy and embrace a customer-centric mindset will be well prepared to define business outcomes and set the pace to ensure business relevancy and success. And while the “digital” part will inevitably shift at some point, continuing transformation is a safe bet for the future.

Mark Egan

StrataFusion Announces New Partner Greg Higham

Higham photoStrataFusion is pleased to announce that Greg Higham has joined the firm as its newest partner. A customer-focused Silicon Valley technology executive, Greg has enabled growth for businesses of all sizes across many industries, from public companies to start-ups.

“We are thrilled to have Greg join StrataFusion and bring a strategic mindset of revenue growth, optimization and an incredibly deep understanding of customer service, which provides a unique lens for today’s business landscape,” said Ken Crafford, StrataFusion founding partner. “Greg’s compelling record of success gained from three decades driving strategy, world-class technology infrastructures, global operations management, acquisition integration and scalable business growth adds an exciting dimension of executive-level insight to advise StrataFusion clients.”

Navigating the technology challenges of fast, transformational growth and acquisitions, Greg brings a leadership perspective of business needs, technology solutions and customer experience. He co-founded Periscope Group, where he put into action a powerful combination of technology expertise and business acumen. As CIO of Marketo, he helped navigate a successful IPO and subsequent sale to Vista Equity Partners for $1.7 billion. Greg has honed his leadership skills and deep industry knowledge through senior leadership roles across many fast-growing global organizations, including Witness Systems, FrontRange Solutions, Epiphany, Inovis, Peregrine Systems, Harbinger, Premenos and Tandem Computers.

Greg earned a degree in Computer Technology from CDI, San Francisco and is also a graduate of Stanford University’s Professional Education program.

About StrataFusion:

StrataFusion delivers a full portfolio of CIO/CTO/CISO oriented advisory services for today’s most difficult business and technology challenges. StrataFusion leverages refined methodologies with proven experience, empirical data, industry best practices, and analytical models to build programs that reduce project complexities and accelerate investment returns. With executive-level technology and operational experts, clients access deep industry experience spanning fast-growth enterprises to Fortune 500 corporations.

View all Partner bios here.

IT for Post-Internet Boom Organizations

A lot has changed in the business world following the Internet boom almost two decades ago. It’s been said frequently that all businesses are now technology businesses, like it or not. From the IT perspective, we see significant philosophical and operational differences between companies that were around before the internet boom vs. those that got started during and after. It’s logical to expect that the IT challenges for a post-internet boom company like Netflix differ greatly compared to General Electric.

Leaders need to be clear not only in how IT is operating in their organizations but also how it should be working for future success and aligning to business strategy. The characteristics of post-internet boom companies highlight clear challenges and opportunities.

For example, software development companies are finding that they spend increasing time in operational tasks competing with their directive to provide more company differentiation. In addition, infrastructure and governance aspects are scattered around various areas within the company creating significant inefficiencies.

Mature organizations now operate with a better understanding of the appropriate use of infrastructure as a service, like cloud, and recognize that a decentralized set of common skills, processes and infrastructure technologies is not the most efficient way to continue operating. Now there is a huge opportunity to integrate IT more deeply into the business with the goal of creating efficiencies in common skills, process and technologies across business organizations with the development of common platforms and services.

Successful and forward-thinking IT infrastructure organizations must continue to benchmark their progress, augment skills and reorganize around more agile and software-oriented practices. For example: adopt machine learning capabilities to facilitate continual improvement, invest in automation skills to increase deployment velocity and adopt a “rapid recovery” philosophy over a “prevent every failure scenario” attitude.

When that happens, organizations will finally be able to achieve the goal that everybody was so excited about in the early 80s and the boom of the 90s:  to unlock efficiencies, drive differentiation and unleash business innovation.

Edward Wustenhoff