A Guide towards Driving Digital Transformation in IT Ops

Bill Talbot, VP, CA Technologies
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Bill Talbot, VP, CA Technologies

Bill Talbot, VP, CA Technologies

The world of business has undergone several significant transformations that went beyond changing commerce itself to fundamentally changing how we live and work. From the simplest machines to advanced robotics, the industrial revolution not only changed manufacturing it also impacted education, where we choose to live, our economic systems and more. The same can be said for the information age, starting with the earliest computers to today’s technology-driven lives.

We are now in the throes of digital transformation. No longer is technology and software something required just to stay in the game; they are the key to creating a competitive advantage and winning the game.

From Uber to AgSmarts, from transportation companies to, yes, even farmers–enterprises of all kinds are using digital technology to transform their business. The bottom line is either you’re part of the disrupting transformation or you’re being disrupted by it.

  â€‹From Uber to AgSmarts, from transportation companies to, yes, even farmers–enterprises of all kinds are using digital technology to transform their business   

You know IT Operations is a critical partner in successful businesses but you may question if IT Ops is a critical driver of digital transformation. The answer is a resounding yes. So, how do you get there from here?

Starting the Digital Transformation Journey:

Unlike a new software development team that’s freed up to develop an app without ties to existing software products, IT Ops teams are notoriously overworked and typically “stuck with” numerous legacy systems even as they try to introduce new ways of supporting the business. A challenging step for IT Ops in moving to digital transformation is creating an appealing delivery platform while maintaining business as usual. How can that happen?

A basic first step is providing omni-channel access. Omni-channel delivery provides up-to-date and integrated customer information regardless of contact method-in person, over the phone, PC-based or mobile device based. It is fundamental to digital transformation and winning in the app economy.

While omni-channel delivery may eventually become table stakes, right now it is a “must-have” in creating the kind of purchasing and usage experience customers have come to expect. They want an experience that is fast and secure; is device, platform and location neutral; has simple and intuitive navigation; and is knowledgeable about their previous inquiries and purchase history.

The Next Stop–Testing the Waters:

The next step takes its cue from how businesses have used transformative development teams, separate from traditional development teams, to “test the waters” of digital transformation. They establish a development team for a new product separate from existing software products and free from traditional planning, budgeting and governance models.

This can work for IT Ops too, on either a new support service or a legacy service that is ready for an overhaul, by running a kind of “bimodal IT,” with one group supporting traditional methods and the other with a lean start-up mentality.

Technologies you’ll need on your Road Trip:

There are several technologies and capabilities that are nec­essary for a successful digital transformation.

• Analytics provide the insight into what customers are experiencing with your apps as well as the ability to baseline performance and detect anomalies, including unauthorized access, in real-time or near real-time speed. Customers have many options and it doesn’t take much to put their loyalty at risk. In the effort to create the kind of experience customers have come to expect, analytics are essential in keeping your solution fast and secure.

• API (Application Programming Interface) Management is key to creating the streamlined experience your customers expect. APIs let you easily access information from another vendor or service provider in order for you to deliver a better service to your customer. A common place example is giving customers the ability to track the package they’ve ordered from you through your website. You contact the shipper through an API so your customer doesn’t have to leave your website. APIs create a one-stop service for a better customer experience.

• Automated release and deployment enables the release of new services to move rapidly and accurately between test and production. Speed and quality are the hallmarks of a digitally transformed business. Automated release and deployment solutions eliminate bumps on the road between Dev and Ops, resulting in faster delivery of high-quality services that cost less to deliver.

Cruising to the Finish Line with DevOps:

DevOps is the essential component that enables full transformation. It requires analytics, to keep reading the customer experience, and agility, to modify and improve the solution rapidly and continually. There is always room for improvement and DevOps is the model by which issues are quickly found and remedied.

DevOps is the process that fuels the endless loop of build– test–release–deploy; creating a cycle of continuous improvement that establishes and maintains your competitive advantage.

Are We There Yet? What the Digital Transformation Destination Looks Like:

Depending on the industry and the company, successful digital transformation takes many forms but the results are very similar– making high-quality services available more quickly to keep you ahead of your competition.

IT providers in all industries are using digital technologies to markedly reduce deployment time of new apps and updates to existing apps, thereby improving customer service while optimizing use of their own resources. Coleman Parkes Research studies show that with digital transformation technologies operational efficiency improves by 38 percent while IT costs decline by 37 percent.

The study also notes that digital transformation increases speed to market by 33 percent and the quality of new services by 39 percent, all which leads to 40 percent greater customer satisfaction.

IT Ops in the Driver’s Seat:

IT Ops is not the only driver of digital transformation but it is an essential partner in creating the delivery model that reflects the way people want to access services in the digital business world.

It takes some time for an IT Ops organization to be completely transformed. The journey starts with IT Ops establishing basic digital capabilities like omni-channel delivery, followed by a period of straddling both sides of the road with one part of IT Ops maintaining traditional operations services while the other tests the waters of transformative services. Incorporating the technologies of analytics, API management, automated release and deployment, and DevOps will necessitate shifts within the IT Ops organization itself and between IT Ops, development teams and other parts of the business.

In the end, however, the journey will have been worth it. Faster and higher-quality service delivery, greater customer satisfaction, reduced IT costs and improved operational efficiency will raise the value of the IT Ops organization within your business and help your business get across the finish line.

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