[Column] Tamer Farouk: Combining I.T and business to deliver digital transformation in Côte d'ivoire
As you know, the culinary world is currently experiencing an explosion of fusion cuisine with chefs mixing diverse culinary styles and cultures. to create gastronomic delights previously unimaginable.
Challenged to increase the productivity and profitability of their restaurants, these experimental pioneers embrace innovation to stand out from the competition and ensure the sustainability of the companies they work for.
The current pressure on the director of modern information services is not much different, as CEOs increasingly demand that he align his IT processes with the core strategic objectives of the organization and demonstrate the business value of its investments over the long term.
In many ways, this requires the director of information services to become as creative as these leaders by merging the interests of different business lines in order to concoct an innovative digital transformation offer that sharpens the appetite of the company. whole organization.
What are the main assets for any company wishing to improve the harmonization of IT and other services?
It's all about collaboration
In a recent study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) in East and West Africa, the dominant consensus was that the digital transformation process should be conducted jointly by the IT department and the company. (1) .
While the emergence of use cases revolving around innovation accelerators such as robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D printing is spawning a new wave of transformation of business process driven by the individual business units, the IT department must always be involved.
For companies in Côte d'Ivoire, this way of doing things on technology is not required to focus on important innovations. Instead, having a good foundation and collaborating with the tools available can make a huge difference.
Allowing operational units to operate in silos encourages the expansion of Shadow IT, in which business units provide IT solutions without the IT departments themselves being aware or approving of this. This can lead to complex security and management issues and the loss of control over cost and governance issues, which would endanger the overall strategic objectives of the organization.
As tempting as it may be for customer relationship teams such as sales and marketing to pursue their own digital goals without worrying about the rest, none of their initiatives should be able to be implemented in isolation. Successful digital transformation requires extensive collaboration and cooperation between IT and business managers to ensure that positive results are achieved.
Although Côte d'Ivoire is not at the forefront of technological innovation unlike Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, it still enjoys enormous potential thanks to this harmonization.
To be realistic
It is important for IT managers and business lines to agree on a series of smaller short-term goals whose purpose is to implement the process of digital transformation, for organizations overwhelmed by infrastructure existing large-scale
Transitioning to a cloud-based infrastructure gives organizations the scale and freedom they need to experiment with new innovations at a realistic pace, allowing them to test smaller scale solutions relatively easily. Introducing digital assistants into customer service channels or launching a mobile app to improve customer service are just two examples of simple steps that can have significant impact.
In addition, organizations in Côte d'Ivoire can invest in skills development to ensure that their employees (and students) have the platform required to deliver value in a digital economy.
Beyond these incremental improvements, various key performance indicators can be leveraged to ensure that the IT department is effectively supporting the broader business objectives of the organization. This can include key financial performance indicators that encourage IT managers to allocate a larger share of their investment budget each year to new technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and data analytics. .
At the same time, CIOs can help business line managers to identify potentially redundant processes or tasks that can be augmented or supported by artificial intelligence or other machine learning applications, and to significantly reduce human errors and associated costs.
Ask questions internally
To stay on the topic of cooperation, internal think tanks are an extremely useful tool for improving the harmonization of IT services and simplifying the digital transformation across the enterprise. These groups should integrate the representation of the various functions within the organization, with the roles and responsibilities of IT and business units clearly defined as part of a roadmap or seamless vision.
The primary role of IT should be to provide test and agile development environments that enable business units to experiment with solutions and refine them as needed. IT should also write structured frameworks that business units can refer to when deploying digital solutions.
One need only look at how successful online transfers have been in the region to allow local businesses to be more competitive by paying faster for their employees and other stakeholders.
If the director of information services becomes the new head of digital transformation, we can not expect him to take care of it alone. In fact, the managers of the business lines must be ready to communicate in a transparent and continuous manner with the CIOs in order to share their vision and their objectives. Only then can a real fusion between IT and the rest of the business take place - a merger that allows the organization to unleash the true potential of digital transformation and begin to function as a digital enterprise in essence.