The Yin and Yang of Digital Transformation

Among other things, mastering digital transformation requires a combination of two distinct but related dimensions – digital capabilities and leadership capabilities.

Digital capabilities are acquired by investing in technology-enabled initiatives to change how the company operates. You should, among other things, have an Innovation Lab or even better have an Innovation Culture permeate the entire organization. You should be willing to invest in and experiment with state-of-the-art technology.

Leadership capabilities include the ability to create a vision to shape the future, governance, and engagement to steer the course and relationships to implement technology-based change throughout the organization. You should be able to decide when to allow niche projects and when to demand wide-spread rollout. You should always strive to balance efficiency and experimentation.

All IT is digital, and all things digital require IT. Therefore IT processes are hugely important in a digital transformation.

IT Governance and Enterprise Architecture

Like Yin and Yang, IT Governance and Enterprise Architecture are complementary concepts that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.

Governance is about “doing the things right”, Enterprise Architecture is about “doing the right things”.

IT Governance without Enterprise Architecture is like getting the direction and distance to go but not knowing the location of paths and pitfalls i.e. having no map. IT Governance without Enterprise Architecture tend to get quick results from a holistic perspective look like a patchwork carpet with no general idea and a lousy design.

Enterprise Architecture without IT Governance is like having a map but not knowing where you are and where you are going. Enterprise Architecture without IT Governance typically ends being an ivory tower with no benefits to the organization.

Big Bang is rarely a great idea

Trying to implement a complete set of IT Governance processes, roles, and responsibilities simultaneously with a full set of Enterprise Architecture guidelines, principles and standards will at best take a very long time before you see any benefit. But usually, the endeavor will fail before you realize the benefits.

An Agile Approach

Instead, I would suggest you follow this plan to implement what you need when you need it:

  1. Start from your company’s mission and strategy
  2. Identify the two or three most important IT Governance disciplines
  3. Define the short term target maturity level for those
  4. Identify the necessary Enterprise Architecture artifacts needed by those disciplines
  5. Define and implement that subset
  6. Branch into two streams:
    a) Monitor and measure the implemented processes and report the results
    b) Start from 2 with the next set of IT Governance disciplines
Erik Haahr

About

Erik Haahr has been a Managing Consultant at Capgemini Sogeti Denmark since 2015. In this role, he is improving local service offering descriptions, participating in pre-sales activities, mentoring graduates, and consulting with customers.

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