Digital Transformation and IT Transformation: The Questions Behind the Conundrum
September 18, 2015

Dennis Drogseth

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EMA has just completed some new research on "Digital" and "IT Transformation." Our goal was to discover what the truth really is surrounding these critical (and sometimes overused) terms. In order to optimize the depth and value of this unique research, for the first time ever EMA partnered with the IT Transformation Institute.

We will be delivering a webinar sharing some of the highlights of this research on September 30.

We embedded a simple definition within our questionnaire, just to make sure our respondents were on the same "proverbial" page. So we defined "digital transformation" as directed at optimizing business or organizational effectiveness via digital and IT services. And "IT transformation" as an initiative focused on optimizing IT performance for business or organizational needs and outcomes. While the two terms do seem like hand-and-glove fits (and should be), the recent buzz around digital transformation has set it apart in the minds of many.

We looked globally across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific (APAC) with more than 300 respondents, about 30% of whom were business leaders and the rest largely came from the IT executive community. We wanted to investigate how digital and IT transformation complemented each other (or didn't), how business leaders and IT leaders viewed this critical arena — where were the views similar and where did they differ? And we wanted to investigate geographic differences, as well.

In turn, we wanted to project this "transformational heat map" on what we believed to be a number of transformational prerequisites. These included:

■ Organization and politics: Who's leading the charge in digital transformation? In IT transformation? We asked both in terms of role and organizational association, and in terms of both drivers and ongoing oversight.

■ Technologies: Were technology investments drivers, supporting players, or non-central to transformation? We examined this question in detail from operations to ITSM; from analytics to automation to service mapping; from customer experience, to security, to financial and IT governance; from revenue generation and brand awareness to business process impacts.

■ Metrics: How did both IT and digital transformation efforts measure success? What were the predominant preferred metrics in terms of operational performance, financial optimization and business outcomes?

■ Cloud and DevOps: How are these ground-shaping foundations of the digital age affecting digital and IT transformation? How and where are they integrated into transformational efforts?

■ Processes and Best Practices: To what degree do industry best practices apply to transformational efforts? And what are the preferred best practices for digital transformation in particular?

■ Transformational Partners: Where are transformational leaders seeking to partner and how successful are those partnerships, whether from IT management software vendors, systems integrators, business consultants, or transformational specialists?

■ Success Factors: What is the magic formula (in terms of all of the above and more) for transformational success? Is it the same for IT and for digital transformation? And how do business stakeholders and IT stakeholders view success rates, obstacles, and priorities for going forward?

Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
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