Digital transformations are even more impactful, and often more disruptive, to corporations and their cultures than traditional IT transformations, which focus primarily on systems. The business value impact can be substantial, as is the risk of failure.
Benchmarking can help crystalize targeted outcomes by identifying what measurements are most important and showing progress against both internal and external guideposts. Whether they are used to compare to a competitor, track current performance, or understand the impacts of an industry trend, benchmarking can serve as a catalyst for achieving transformation goals.
How can IT leaders can drive successful digital transformation through benchmarking?
- Engage Your People
Ensure that your transformation benchmarking is heavily informed by the people who will actually lead and work on transformation initiatives. While external benchmarks are valuable guideposts, your people and teams know best what your organization can handle.
- Be Clear on Timing
Benchmark early in transformation scope planning. Delaying benchmarking until you are at the doorstep of implementation risks missing key signals that can come from benchmarking at the outset of business process redesign and the insight that comes from systematically testing and monitoring early stage transformation efforts.
- Support the Leadership Conversation
Use measures to facilitate a regular executive conversation on your company’s strategic digital health. The right high-level measures give feedback on the pace of transformation that elevates the dialog above the quarterly tug of war. The ability to continue collaborative conversations beyond your last strategic off-site can improve your partnering dynamic and keep the focus where it belongs – digital competition.
When these benchmarking steps are addressed appropriately, several enablers of transformation success are bolstered:
- Clear, shared and measurable expectations and progress milestones are set
- Feedback loops focused on tangible, actionable points are established
- Course correction earlier in the process appropriately adjusts future targets
- Effective communication that demonstrates progress and motivates people and teams
We have more to cover in our ongoing benchmarking series. For now, we would love to hear from you about what role benchmarking plays in your organizations, where you run into challenges and how you are solving for success.
This is the second installment in StrataFusion’s benchmarking series.
This is the second installment of a two-part series. Read Part 1 here.
The IT landscape is evolving fast and one of the best strategies for organizations to keep culture on track is to continuously reinforce the IT/business connection by encouraging teams to partner and focus on business goals. In part one of this series, we shared three keys to unlock world-class culture: articulating your message, encouraging participation, and investing in your people.
These focus areas set the stage to build effective teams and provide challenging career opportunities. How can you ensure your culture is working for you and getting the right results?
Emphasize team building. Acquire and grow talent through interdepartmental teams.
- Commit to professional development so you have time to recruit from within and train employees from other areas when an initiative provides opportunity.
- Leverage internships to tap into bright game-changers with new perspectives around usability, innovation for applications and technology – disruption is good!
- Bump up the bonus structure for employees who successfully recruit new talent.
- Capitalize on Agile techniques to broaden job responsibilities. Dev Ops can be an open recruiting and training area for employees who want to broaden their base even if they stay in their existing department.
Support career growth: Retain high-potential talent by providing maximum growth opportunities.
- Ensure that new employees are on-boarded, have clear role definition, are trained and have a mentor. Identify and manage poor fits quickly and fairly.
- Allow rotations into and out of IT to reinforce the value of business experience.
- Give feedback and career coaching regularly to ensure employees are developing, have a plan and know their value.
- Insist on regular training, development and new experiences, and provide the time and space for it. Set up a training sabbatical structure every few years if budget allows.
A world-class culture is one of the most effective recruiting tools you can have because the best ambassadors are your employees. Be sure to reward behavior that aligns with company values and recognize results that support the business strategies and culture. Gartner reports that as digitalization expands beyond IT into more areas of business, demand for people with specialized technology skills will continue to increase. Competing for talent is expected to get more intense. As the battle for talent escalates, companies must focus on culture and opportunities to recruit great candidates and retain top performers.
To assist with your talent quest, be sure to check out Merritt College Cybersecurity Career Day on Nov. 2. The event will offer CISOand Instructor panels, as well as a keynote address from Cisco’s Chief Privacy Officer Michelle Dennedy.
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.