Towards a joint tech-business strategy

It is not enough to invest in digital technologies to succeed in their transformation. The first step is to align Tech and Business initiatives around a common vision.

By Antoine Gourevitch, Senior Associate Director, BCG

Companies are increasingly investing in advanced technologies to support their digital transformation. Despite these efforts, many of them struggle to achieve their goals, or even achieve them.

On the eve of new groundbreaking innovations, this impasse means not only a waste of resources, but also mortgages their future growth. It must be said that IT is still too often seen as a support function whose developments can be seen separately from business issues.
This piecemeal approach is ineffective and often counterproductive when faced with a holistic transformation that impacts all dimensions of the business.

To succeed, we must therefore break with this traditional silo model and align technology and business initiatives with a common vision† Managers from both departments and their teams must work closely together to deploy use cases, choose investments, implement new tools, processes and governance.
Without this strategic alignment and this operational collaboration, complexity increases in often deteriorating security conditions, the advantage of agile methods is limited and scaling sometimes becomes insurmountable.

On their way to their digital transformation, companies should launch innovative projects that are likely to quickly generate value, attract talent and improve operational efficiency† To achieve these goals, they must define a common strategy for both technology and business and determine the expected level of simplification and harmonization of processes for the entire organization. Only this global approach can improve the overall performance of the company.
Too often we see that digital initiatives have been launched without handling all the issues beforehand. A company invests in advanced data and artificial intelligence technologies, but fails to develop its skills, optimize its ecosystem of partners, or simplify its IT environment. Another recruits talent and acquires the best expertise, only to realize that the heaviness of his processes delays initiatives and generates frustration.

To avoid these pitfalls, companies must align and coordinate the actions of their technical and business functions around the critical dimensions of digital transformation. This includes defining a shared operating model. Over time, many organizations have grown processes to meet the specific needs of a country or entity, creating complexity incompatible with flexible digital models. Technology and business must jointly determine which processes should be preserved and which should be harmonized or simplified. From this shared operational scheme, a roadmap can be drawn up by prioritizing digital initiatives. To ensure their implementation and monitor the progress of simplification actions, it is necessary to provide a dashboard that integrates a set of performance indicators and environmental or regulatory criteria.

This collaboration, which has become essential between technology and business, can be based on cooperative platforms. At the same time, the company must continue to work on the other levers of digital transformation by focusing on strategic skills such as data management, cloud adoption, deployment of agile technology environments focused on interface software or the implementation of iterative work practices. Building a robust and resilient cybersecurity strategy for the entire organization also requires cross-functional collaboration. The demands of digital transformation mean the end of a fragmented and compartmentalized approach between technology and business.

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