Digital Delivery: Closing the Business-IT Gap

There are lots of really good ideas in the digital space from omni-channel experiences to legacy modernization, xTech start-ups and mobile first. No shortage of ideas that are pitched and funded. At the same time there is a wide dispersion of companies on the digital maturity curve. Not for lack of funding, but for lack of execution.

According to PwC's Global Digital IQ Survey, more than 50% of executives say their businesses are not focused on executing their strategies, and few are able to bring their digital ideas to market in line with their vision.

In my experience there are two reasons. The lack of an enterprise view of all digital activities within an organization, and a lack of focus on developing robust use cases.

The majority of technology investments today fall outside of IT. Lines of business and and functional areas are stating their needs and owning their own IT budgets. This creates a gap with what is happening with the IT architecture.

Excelling at digital delivery and supporting enterprise digital transformation requires an enterprise view of not only digital projects but also the impact of these projects on the IT architecture. One-off digital projects not aligned with where the architecture is and where it is going, has short and long-term negative impact.

An enterprise view provides for synergies with other projects, for example where functional services can be reused. If there is not service type architecture today, then with enough needs IT can be planning to build one in the future to support rapid deployment. As a side note, there might be two architectures one to support legacy needs but another to support digital. Though both architectures aligned.

Where the enterprise view is at the macro level, use cases are the micro view. There is a movement with design-led development, i.e. what is the actual experience of an end-user of a given product. The design-led movement is keying off the purpose of use cases which is to blueprint and design actual experiences.

I have found that use cases which are not written with enough detailed input and thought from the business end up with development deliverables that do not meet expectations, and delayed or killed projects. At the same time when technology is not working hand in hand with businesses to create use cases, businesses don't understand the potential of what technology can deliver to optimize business need.

If you have lots of great digital ideas but poor execution, try focusing an enterprise view of all digital activity and IT architecture, and develop robust use cases (design-led development). These will help to increase the rate of digital project delivery by closing the business-IT gap.

Scott Alexander, President & Chief Digital Officer - Marketing Enablement

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