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Inverting the IT Iceberg

By Chris Miller, CIO, Avanade

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Chris Miller, CIO, Avanade

IT professionals are at  the crossroads. The   pace of technology  innovation is accelerating, wherein new buyer   types for IT services are   emerging, and budgets   and control are shifting  outside of the traditional   IT departmentforcing IT   to rethink its value to organizations and find new   ways to contribute in a  meaningful way. Histori cally, IT was regarded as  an icebergwhere two thirds of the work happened   at the infrastructure level  below the water line, largely invisible to employees, C-suite and other  stakeholders. The part that was visible   CIOs and IT leaders  are currently faced  with unprecedented  opportunity to create  lasting value for their  organizations  above the water was where IT drove new innovation and   showcased its expertise.

“CIOs and IT leaders   are currently faced  with unprecedented   opportunity to create  lasting value for their  organizations”

As CIO of Avanade a global provider of innovative   digital services, business solutions and designled    experiences for its clients, delivered through the power of   people and the Microsoft eco systemI think it’s time for IT   to invert the iceberg. I’ve seen the role of the IT department   and the workplace change significantly in recent years;    the convergence of disruptive trends like mobile, cloud  and big data has challenged companies to bring digital  capabilities to the workforce while keeping data secure and    productivity and engagement high. Today, IT leaders must   invert the iceberg if they are to thrive and remain relevant in   a rapidly changing digital world and this means bringing   IT innovation to the forefront of transformational discussions   around the way people work, collaborate and drive results.

Take Delta Air Lines, for example. The company was  looking to improve the efficiency of its business operations   and offer customers a more comfortable in-flight experience.     In partnership with Microsoft and AT&T, Avanade developed     a mobile solution for Delta’s 19,000 flight attendants  enabling the Delta team to process passenger transactions    more efficiently, as well as download and read manuals,   check flight schedules and email updates to management   in real time. This digital implementation was a win-win for     Delta’s business and its employees, as well as for the in flight experiences and customer satisfaction.

 A global manufacturer, Henkel AG, wanted to empower   its 47,000 employees in 75 countries to deliver information  on any device, anywhere, at any time. To achieve this   vision, Avanade led Henkel’s migration to Office 365, from   envisioning and confirming the business case through   devising and implementing the migration plan, preparing   employees to use the new software and providing   continuous technical support. As a result, Henkel now has a  modern, unified communications and collaboration cloud- based platform.
  
 An advanced digital workplace gives companies a   leg up when it comes to meeting the needs of today’s   digitally empowered customers and employees. A digital    workplace not only helps organizations better serve their    customers; it helps drive revenues and attract the talent that   companies need to grow their business and outperform    competition. A recent Avanade-commissioned global study  of 500 business and IT leaders around the world found that   organizations that have adopted digital workplace solutions    have experienced business benefits as a direct result of    these technologies, including increased productivity and  employee engagement as well as revenue growth.  

 As CIOs think about how they can contribute business   value in a meaningful way, helping guide organizations’   digital workplace transformation should be a linchpin in  their strategies. However, many IT leaders don’t know    where to start, and find themselves grappling with questions   such as, “What does digital transformation look like for my  organization? How do I realize value from it? What’s the first   step?”
 
These are common questions, and important ones.  Based on Avanade’s experience working with clients   across industries and sectors, here are three tips for CIOs   around transforming to a digital workplace:
 • First, make sure you understand what a  digital workplace actually means. Avanade’s   research showed that an over whelming majority of   companies (84 percent) mistakenly believe that using    email and social media alone constitute a digital workplace.   The reality is that a truly digital workplace brings together   applications, information and collaboration in an intelligent  context that is tailored to the individual employee’s role,   location and tasks. As a technology leader, strive to  create a common taxonomy when you’re talking to your   colleagues, peers and other business stakeholders.
 
 • Consider it a journey. The digital workplace   transformation will be slightly different for every company.   Key to success is to understand your business and identify    the various revenue streams this will vary by business   model, industry, your organization’s digital maturity and a   host of other factors. Because of the complexities involved,    it’s important for CIOs to partner with business leads   and have candid conversations about the technologies   available, how they align to company strategy and what    they can enable for the organization. Be careful of taking   large leaps, and take it one step at a time.

 • Start your journey now. The expectations of    IT to deliver business value have never been higher,    and given the clear competitive advantages of a   digital workplace, doing nothing isn’t an option. It    might be tempting to take a “wait and see” approach,  or hold out for the perfect opportunity, but consider    this: Avanade’s research found that a majority of    companies already have at least one of the building    blocks for a digital workplace in place such as  connectivity solutions or social collaboration tools  or are planning to invest in the next 12-24 months.  Clearly, companies that delay taking the critical first   step risk being left behind.

 CIOs and IT leaders are currently faced with   unprecedented opportunity to create lasting value for   their organizations. Digital transformation continues to   drive companies to rethink their response to markets  and customers, reshape their operations and engage   and empower their workforces. As technology moves    ever closer to the heart of the business, IT leaders   are on the front lines of this digital revolution. By   prioritizing a digital workplace and leading the charge  on those transformational discussions, CIOs can invert   the iceberg, bring innovation to the forefront and help  their organizations achieve measurable, sustained   Chris Miller business results.   

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