Successful IT Transformation: The Devil is in the Execution

Marc E. Snyder, Managing Director, Management Consulting, KPMG LLP

In the wake of the 2000-era financial crisis and heightened global competition, organizations are grappling with how to achieve multiple goals including sustainable growth, customer retention, reduced costs, and operational improvements. Many view IT transformation as an essential priority to position them to address these objectives.

Throughout many client discussions and interactions, KPMG continues to see a recurring, common issue. IT executives generally know what they want to fix, and have a sense of their desired outcomes. But when it comes to taking the right steps to plan and execute a transformation of IT, results are often far less than satisfactory.

A recent study conducted on behalf of KPMG LLP by IDC Research Services supports this observation. The majority of respondents cited overhauling their IT organizational models, operations, policies, and strategies as a top method for addressing the business and technology challenges and opportunities they face today. Yet they gave low rankings to “confidence in their organizations’ ability to navigate the requisite transformational paths.”

Although IT is frequently, and many times wrongly, maligned when something goes awry, business’s patience is clearly waning on IT’s ability to figure out the IT transformation equation. And with IT’s role shifting in many organizations from developer/operator to that of services integrator, business executives are upping their pressure on IT to change or step aside.

To enable IT groups to achieve their goals in the midst of this dynamic, game-changing turmoil, KPMG has identified a specific set of actions common to successful IT transformation programs: 

  • Build a compelling business case for action
  • Demonstrate executive commitment
  • Present a supportable change agenda
  • Confidently manage participation
  • Align business and technology architecture
  • Actively plan and manage partners and vendors

KPMG professionals have also identified recurring issues that thwart IT organizations’ ability to achieve their envisioned transformation programs: 

  • Inadequate focus on the challenges of change
  • Absent or unsophisticated governance
  • Inexperienced planning and execution teams
  • Insufficient resourcing
  • Inadequate risk management and monitoring

Specifics on KPMG’s recommended dos and don’ts of IT transformation are available in the paper, “Achieving successful IT transformation: 11 lessons from the field.”

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