Prapussorn Pechkaew, Senior Market Analyst, IDC Thailand.
Prapussorn Pechkaew, Senior Market Analyst, IDC Thailand.

Savvy, flexible IT leadership needed to digitally transform

Corporate July 11, 2017 01:00


THAI CEOs are gradually putting digital transformation (DX) at the centre of their corporate strategy. Those companies that do not initiate a DX initiative will find themselves struggling to respond to changing market demands and also find it difficult to stay profitable.

We expect their very survival will be threatened.

Given the strategic importance and sense of urgency organisations feel to digitally transform, some CEOs are electing to put a chief digital officer in place. In other cases, separate digital businesses are being established. Either option leaves IT organisations unsure of where they fit in with DX and what their role should be.

Still a need for IT

Results of a recent IDC research study of business executives provide reassurance to IT organisations that there are important roles for them to play. The following three roles were identified most often: identify which parts of the business can be digitally transformed, identify emerging technologies that accelerate digital transformation, and manage digital project implementations. 

Beyond working side-by-side with the business during the digital innovation stage, IDC believes the IT organisation is needed to ensure the digital innovations are ultimately integrated into the enterprise IT platform. IT can also ensure existing systems are transformed into a flexible and optimised IT infrastructure capable of supporting a digital enterprise.

Transforming IT first 

Many IT organisations need an overhaul of its culture, talent, service management, vendor management and operations before they can be an effective partner in digital transformation. According to an IDC benchmark study, only 17 per cent of IT organisations are functioning as “DX Change Agents” or “DX Visionaries” when partnering with the line of business.

The rest are still finding their way.

To help IT leaders map out the transformation required from within, IDC developed the “Leading in 3D” IT leadership framework for digital transformation. Digital savvy IT organisations need to tackle three dimensions of IT transformation simultaneously:

1. Innovate with the business to create a digital enterprise. This dimension addresses the need for IT to serve as an innovation engine. Digital savvy IT organisations work closely with the business in an agile manner to create new digital capabilities. Such organisations require an innovation culture, a deep understanding of business and consumers, and IT talent versed in digital technologies.

2. Integrate digital capabilities with the enterprise platform. Once the digital innovations have been generated, it is incumbent upon the IT organisation to ensure a reliable, scalable and secure digital infrastructure is in place. When and how the digital assets are integrated into the enterprise platform is up to the IT organisation. A focus on enterprise architecture, service management, security and program management come into heavy play in this dimension. 

3. Incorporate new techniques and technologies into the IT organisation. For many IT organisations, legacy systems are seen as a barrier to innovation. Digital savvy organisations create a flexible and optimised IT infrastructure that is capable of supporting the digital enterprise by selectively infusing the environment with digital techniques and technologies. Through a careful balancing act, they adeptly parse their resources to drive innovation while still running the current IT environment.

PRAPUSSORN PECHKAEW is Senior Market Analyst, IDC Thailand