Is your IT Ops model a digital winner?
Mar 1, 2023
Enterprises are striving to become increasingly digital in their business model. But is your IT operating model strong enough to help achieve your organization's digital ambition? That's what we covered in our recent webinar, where we unpacked February's Gartner report, “Is Your Current I&T Operating Model Right for Your Digital Ambition?” by Donna Scott and Owen Chen. In this blog, I'll cover a few of the key points.
Why is this important?
It's easy to dismiss analyst reports as overly academic, but I think it's helpful to keep in mind that Gartner analysts talk with hundreds of client enterprise organizations a year. According to Gartner, 90% of folks they've surveyed believe that they need to grow up their IT operating model in order to help their business achieve its digital goals.
What is digital ambition?
If a thriving digital business is the goal, digital ambition is the organizational imperative to achieve that. In some cases, that means improving an existing digital business' productivity, customer experience, or revenue generation (optimization). In some cases it means innovating new service offerings or entirely new business models (transformation). In most cases, it's a mix. Here's a Gartner graphic that illustrates this idea a bit further. You can tell what your overall organization's ambition is by looking at the top-down initiatives coming from your executive team.
It's important to be clear on what the high level digital business goals are if the IT operating model is going to make the level of impact that it can and should.
Wait, is it IT or I&T?
Gartner makes a distinction between the operational model of the IT team itself, and the way the enterprise as a whole operates around Information and Technology (I&T) more generally. Obviously, these are closely related, but it's still a worthy point because today, digital skills, use of data and analytics, and deployment of software and cloud capabilities have gone far beyond the IT team's domain. Either way, if you are an IT leader, you need to be looking at the whole organization and not just your own team if you want to help the business achieve its digital ambition.
The four step process
Gartner recommends the following approach as illustrated below. You start by assessing your IT operating maturity using a survey tool to grade 28 different operating model components across several different categories, including things like how you budget, your technology expertise, governance, etc. The result of the survey will put your organization into a level (1-5 ).
A dose of reality
Not all levels of maturity can even contribute optimization to a digital business, because they're focused on keeping the lights on. If your IT operating model is level 1 or 2, you have to mature before you can make a positive impact towards your organization's digital ambition. That might be a hard thing to face, but if that's the case you're not alone. Gartner estimates that almost half of their clients operate at level 2, and many clients are trying to get to level 3.
Maps and gaps
Once you face what level your operating model is at, you can then see what your operating model should focus on to get to the next level, as seen in the diagram below.
Operating model patterns can be understood to indicate the primary focus of the IT operating model. This mapping helps you understand where your IT operating focus needs to grow up to create more value-add for digital optimization or transformation. That gap analysis based on your grading of the 28 areas (and their relative importance to your business) yields a roadmap for action.
Obviously, in this post I can't recap everything we covered, so if you're curious, check out the webinar. In the webinar, we apply the report's concepts to maturing your approach to end user computing. We illustrate how to move from a level 1/2 operating model in a legacy office environment, to a level 3 service-oriented approach that helps the entire business respond effectively to the challenge of a distributed workforce.
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