Want Digital Transformation? Stop Buying Technology


Imagine your 90-year-old grandmother decides to buy her first mobile phone, and she asks for your advice. Would you suggest she spend $2,000 on the latest iPhone 12 ProMax, with 512GB of memory and cutting-edge video capabilities? Probably not. You’ll likely ask her what she wants to do with it and then suggest something relatively basic and less expensive – something better suited to her needs without complicated or unnecessary features that she won’t take advantage of. Seems straightforward, right?

And yet, when it comes to business, so many are doing the exact opposite: impulsively buying ITSM tools, automation platforms, or security applications. In the absence of a shared, overarching vision, many organizations have created a Frankenstein of point-solutions, each acquired over time to address a single use case. And now, these complicated environments don’t talk to each other and force employees and customers alike to swivel between costly systems. It’s not a question of if, but when the bomb will go off and exacerbate their problems further.

Buying With Intention

None of us can be experts at everything. Just because you may be excellent at running a business doesn’t mean you should be expected to understand every aspect of modern technology. A good starting point is to ask yourself why you need new tech before you even think about purchasing it. Usually, it’s not the product itself you want but the business outcome that provides a more straightforward process and an ultimate solution. Once you know this, you can find a trusted advisor who bridges the gap between your business goals and the technology that will support them. This approach – called intentionality – creates a pathway to the best solution for your specific needs, and it currently lacks in a lot of technology decision-making processes.

Companies need to implement stringent tests to prove the value of any new technology. Tests will, of course, vary depending on company needs. Ultimately, though, all CIOs should take a scientific approach to measure outcomes of their digital systems and only purchase new platforms that will help achieve business goals. It shouldn’t look like the grocery cart of someone who went shopping while hungry. It needs to be strategic.

It’s easy to get caught in this trap for two reasons. First, in the digital era, everything changes at a more incredible velocity. As digital expanded, buying power shifted from IT to the various business units that bought and implemented their tools. Second, with the explosion of the cloud, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and best-of-breed mentality, business units started to define their own needs based on departmental goals.

Take A Cohesive Approach

The problem is, when you approach your digital strategies as a series of separate entities, you, by necessity, end up with each unit holding a single piece of the puzzle. Most departments share the same digital transformation goals, but they lack the alignment necessary to meet them. The weight of platform usability falls on the employee, with organizations expecting them to decipher and extract value from platforms even when leadership isn’t streamlining digital efforts.

So how do you cultivate alignment? You think holistically about IT, examining individual components and the whole, and act proportionately to the situation. CIOs need to see what’s working, how it’s working, and why it’s working (or not working, as the case may be). They also need to see which systems work well together and which ones don’t. Understand what you have before making decisions based on what you think you want. You need to track organizational performance against KPIs and business goals across all technology silos and learn how to use each tool to its fullest extent. If you don’t measure performance, you cannot manage goals and outcomes.

The Overall Experience

So how is this all put into practice? Start by defining the desired operational outcome that aligns with and ties into your specific business objectives. From there, you can review your current processes to identify friction points and bottlenecks.

With feedback regarding what your users want, how your customers wish to consume services, and how your employees can work efficiently to deliver that experience, you can tweak current processes or design new ones to support that outcome. Technology is the tool that will facilitate this through automation and speed – and the right tools are how you create the results you want to see in the end.

This method will change how you think about purchasing and implementing technology and make it work better for you rather than inhibiting real progress and achievements. When you buy smart, you buy less and win more. Fully Managed can help you do that.