The active market of new information and communication technologies is in perpetual evolution. This makes the life cycle of these technologies shorter and shorter. In addition to this, consumer expectations are also changing in an accelerated race driven by increased competition. Today, IT functions are more than ever under pressure to support large capacities. IT systems become obsolete very quickly if companies do not adapt to the new environment. It is therefore imperative for them to modernize not only the tools and functions, but also the way they do IT.
The simplest way to do this is to use platforms that connect everyone to the same cloud-based digital infrastructure that connects the different areas of a company. Understanding what needs to be done to achieve these goals is critical to making this happen in the best possible way. Planning, sequencing, investment, design, and engagement of all stakeholders in the enterprise are essential to integrating these platforms that will lead to successful results.
The PwC Network has defined 10 principles that should be prioritized when integrating new, leading-edge technologies into a business. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) is an international network of firms specialising in audit, accounting and advisory services. These 10 principles have been shared by strategy+business, a magazine published by some member firms of the PwC network.
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Put customer value first
It is obvious that a company decides to modernize its information technology to obtain added value. This is done through a better experience, higher product quality or operational efficiency that reduces prices and adds value. To achieve this, here are the steps to follow:
- build a solid business case ;
- include the most important results for customers ;
- explain how each facet of the new IT system will contribute ;
- indicate measurable improvements in key metrics ;
- use cross-functional teams to plan and design this modernization effort.
Simplify the architecture
Nowadays, instead of having to choose between simplicity and essential functionality, it makes more sense to choose both. Indeed, many modern systems can combine simplicity at the back with enhanced functionality at the front. Why have a complex network of technologies for individual applications when it is possible to centralize it all? The advent of modern modular platforms has changed the game and allowed companies to see the huge IT wave with a calmer eye.
Design for flexibility and speed
Today’s organizations have a vested interest in adapting to an ever-changing environment. However, this requires continuous innovation in products, services and practices. Their systems must also have the flexibility to keep pace. To do so, they must :
Look for modular platforms that can accommodate a wide range of “plug-and-play” functions.
Develop their own IT capabilities to adapt to the needs of innovation.
Learn how to use these platforms to quickly redirect their activities while paying attention to the quality of the user experience.
Adopt a “minimum viable product” (MVP) approach to assess the suitability of new IT systems.
Distribute an MVP to a small group of employees or customers and ask for their feedback.
Engage with your workforce and culture
Today’s companies give a voice to the human being who gives of his heart to lead them to success. Employees increasingly express themselves on what they consider to be beneficial or not for the company they represent. This is why it is normal to ask them for their opinion when it is time to make a major change. Among other things, it is possible to use questionnaires, surveys or group meetings to take their suggestions. It is also very important to talk to them beforehand and involve them in the decisions. In this way, new developments are more easily accepted and the troops are not discouraged.
Adopt a service-oriented mindset
Services are now outsourced and managed dynamically. When a service element is not effective, it is very easy to adapt or replace it. The source of the service is no longer as important as it used to be; what matters now is how it meets business needs and creates value. Adopting a service-oriented mindset also promotes a more open approach to sharing value with service providers. It is in the company’s interest to make its suppliers permanent partners in innovation, moving from negotiating terms and conditions to delivering results collaboratively.
Chart the map before you start
Modernizing a company’s technology does not happen overnight and requires a lot of work. This colossal project requires a team specialized in each of its aspects and dedicated to devote itself entirely to its realization. It also requires a solid strategy around which all efforts will revolve to ensure success. The essentials to make this change successful are :
- a clear vision of the project;
- the necessary financial resources;
- realistic planning;
- a team dedicated entirely to this project;
- specific expertise services;
- an open-mindedness of all stakeholders.
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Organize by capacity
Instead of categorizing the IT reorganization of the company by “projects”, why not “capabilities”? An organization’s most distinctive capabilities are the combinations of systems, processes and functions that bring value in a way that no other company can match. The company should view this systems modernization initiative as an opportunity to aggressively improve its capabilities, leveraging its digital expertise.
Be agile and user-centred
When carrying out the modernization, it is essential to look for ways to make profits more quickly. Even if the company adopts agility, it must remain user-centric, that is, attentive to customer and employee feedback and responsive in the way it incorporates their feedback into its designs.
Invest in the resources that make change happen
Before modernization begins, a careful analysis of the scale and diversity of resources needed to succeed must be undertaken. Project management and transformational leadership capabilities are as important as technical capabilities and financial resources.
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A partnership based on shared values and trust
The technologies you are modernizing are critical to the future of your organization. Therefore, don’t treat modernization – or the acquisition of the goods and services needed to support it – as a transactional event. When selecting long-term partners, invest in special due diligence that goes beyond your usual evaluation criteria.