Are you a digital leader or a digital latecomer?

Profile picture for user jerikson By Jeff Erickson December 4, 2014
Is your organization being correctly led into its digital transformation future? Oracle's Jeff Erickson poses some questions to find out.

Early adopters of cloud and other digital transformations are reaping significant competitive advantages, while others are struggling to find a compelling digital vision. Where does your company stand, and how can it move forward? There are plenty of ways to find out, starting with these questions.

Is your CIO a tactician or a business strategist?

There's a growing divide in how companies view the IT executive job profile. While many CIOs function as enterprise business strategists, others report feeling sidelined and relegated to running data centers and keeping costs down, notes the CIO Magazine 13th annual State of the CIO survey. The distinction is vital, as digital transformation will not work without IT.

It's not enough for IT to align itself with business goals. In order to become a digital leader, LOB and IT leadership must collaborate closely to identify and fund the digital projects that will yield the best business return.

The CIO brings a vital, high-level view of IT to the table, offering breadth of project knowledge as well as deep expertise in existing IT architecture. CIOs must consider important elements such as data flow, access, integration, and security in what is likely a hybrid environment of on-premise and PaaS components.

So take a look around: do you have a CIO who works with business peers to brainstorm and effect digital change? Or is your IT top brass still internally focused?

Does IT respond fast enough?

LOB users often won't see the point of waiting through the time slog of a traditional application development cycle when they can get SaaS applications up and running on the cloud in a day. Therefore, your IT staff needs to do everything possible to support an interactive, responsive partnership with the business side of the house.

Cloud-based application development platforms, for example, cut weeks from a traditional development cycle, while cloud Dev/Ops platforms help developers and operational people develop, deploy and manage within a single infrastructure. Meanwhile, interactive development processes can be built to respond to constant business input.

What's the situation at your company? If you're still tossing business requirements over the wall to IT and waiting weeks for a response, that's a digital fail.

Have you modernized your infrastructure to support digital transformation?

Building an architecture that addresses the structural and technical requirements of digital initiatives isn't easy, but it is critical. According to joint research from Capgemini Consulting and MIT, companies that have mastered digital strategies look at platform modernization as a foundational investment.

Smart companies are implementing tools and platforms that not only support the business side's demand for digital technologies and applications, but also do so within an overarching digital strategy that blends PaaS and SaaS with existing systems.

You want cloud platforms that help you modernize applications without creating yet another silo. Instead, your infrastructure must be able to treat cloud and on-premises applications as a connected ecosystem.

So how does your infrastructure stack up? Are you a leader or a latecomer? In a world where businesses increasingly operate in real time, you might be betting your company on the answer.