Cloud, Covid-19, and now the return to the office has all disrupted what both customers and employees expect from IT: always on and always available from anywhere. How does IT build an agile operating model to support this ever-changing environment?
The enormity of any business transformation may be daunting but ‘starting somewhere’ is good advice because building flexibility, agility and efficiencies into any organisation takes time. That’s why at Redcentric we always try to explain to our customers that it’s a journey, and that we want to be with them not just for the immediate need but for the long-term.
The importance of organisational culture
How you actually go about building an intelligent operating model is important. It requires an openness of mind and a willingness to explore new things. The culture of your organisation will influence how easy the task will be. The reasons why are easily explained.
Your operating model defines the way your organisation gets things done, the way internal departments are set up, processes within departments, the way users interact with customers and suppliers, and with each other, as well as the way they work. Since the pandemic, more than ever before, organisations are expected to support flexible, hybrid and mobile working.
One size does not fit all
Models will vary across different sectors; for example, a service-based business will be focused on billable revenue, while a manufacturer will focus on a procurement based operating model.
IT transformation is the constant
Your objectives will be more easily achieved, when there is recognition from the top down that IT can play a transformative role by building an intelligent operating model which supports greater flexibility, agility and ultimately the bottom line.
To explore this further; typically, 80% of your IT spend could be described as ‘undifferentiated heavy lifting’; technology which is necessary to underpin how your organisation currently operates but does not directly add value. The critical thing, for a successful business transformation, is to find out what you need to invest in for the remaining 20% of your IT that will allow you to add value and differentiate your organisation. In short, you need to be clear on what your business objectives are, then IT needs to invest in delivering an intelligent operating model which will help you to achieve those objectives and add value to the organisation.
IT – the enabler
Clearly, it’s not all about IT; your people, the culture of your organisation and the aspirational ambitions of your business have a role to play in success. However, this 20% of IT investment which helps you to add value is critical. Why? It can enable greater organisational flexibility and agility; it can provide the right foundation for innovation or generate cost-efficiencies which improve your ability to compete, and as many have learnt, during and since the pandemic, it can deliver business resilience, and help you to not only survive a sea change in working practices but build on new ways of working beyond it.
It’s more about flexibility than efficiency
Adopting an intelligent operating model is more about equipping your organisation to be flexible and agile and less about efficiency, though that is often the added bonus. That means removing physical infrastructure and replacing it with services. For example, cloud migration means you’ll be making the move to hosting your business applications in data centres, moving them to public cloud like AWS or Azure. This enables your organisation to be more responsive to change, more agile and to be more innovative.
What’s the blocker?
One of the biggest challenges is often inertia. Inertia occurs because people are comfortable with the status quo and some organisations take the view that the current operation model, processes and procedures have made us successful in the past, so why change them?