IT Transformation Leadership

By Mike Fuller, Tiffany Hague, and Matt Williams
April 11, 2023
Season 4, Episode 13

In this episode of the Business Excelleration® Podcast, what’s required to succeed at IT transformation in today’s business environment? What key challenges do IT leaders face, and what common mistakes do they make? A discussion with The Hackett Group Principal Mike Fuller, Director Tiffany Hague, and Manager Matt Williams.

Show Notes

Welcome to The Hackett Group’s Business Excelleration Podcast, where week after week we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode is hosted by Gary Baker, Global Communications director at The Hackett Group. Today’s episode will discuss what is required to succeed in information technology (IT) transformation in today’s business environment, the key challenges IT leaders face and common mistakes made. Gary’s guests are The Hackett Group’s Principal Mike Fuller, Director Tiffany Hague and Manager Matt Williams.

Kicking things off, Mike shares the types of transformation technology leaders are focusing on right now. The organizations who have been on their digital transformation journey for some time are now largely focused on the product side for their customers. How can they deliver value more quickly and use analytics to identify opportunities? Other digital transformations include things focused on rationalizing and the overall architectural footprint. Some organizations are simply focused on condensing multiple applications into one. Tiffany adds that IT departments are having to revisit their people component and reanalyze their success strategy. Going into an uncertain 2023, companies are revisiting outlooks and cost-saving measures.

Then, Matt highlights the biggest risks and challenges technology leaders are facing when embarking on digital transformation. The biggest one is the commitment of resources to the transformation. Another is simply the resistance to change and a lack of agility culture. Without effective change management, there is often inconsistent messaging throughout all parts of the organization. Finally, is the complexity of technology and processes. Tiffany sees many of her clients facing these same challenges today, especially with the amount of initiatives that are on their plate, lack of organization and an increase in demand. Making sure they have the right resources aligned to the right initiative is key.

Leaders are addressing these challenges by recognizing that transformation cannot be done off the site or on someone’s desk. What has proven to be most successful is the standing up of a dedicated transformation office. This office would report directly to the chief information officer, and prioritize what transformations need to happen and when. Leaders face additional challenges as part of running a large-scale program. This related to operational duties can easily pull leaders away from transformational efforts. Many technology leaders are combating this by simplifying day-to-day operations through workflow innovation and best practice-based processes, and identifying clear roles and responsibilities. This is imperative when it comes to innovation so focus can be held on this large goal. Another big aspect is to make sure that your organization is prepared and ready before taking on a transformation. Having this confirmation allows for more accurate predictions.

Tiffany is a proponent of the idea that what gets measured certainly gets managed. She encourages clients during the transformation planning stage to create a plan of action and identify key metrics. She recommends OKR (objectives and key results) to keep progress in front of clients as they go through their journey. Similarly, they are encouraged to consider their possible outcomes and what the end result might look like. The best types of KPIs and metrics are the ones tied directly to business strategy and business health. Many companies are measuring KPIs around adoption, user experience and customer retention. The best strategy for understanding your success along the journey is to measure along the way on a continuous basis.

The Hackett Group aids clients in setting up transformation management offices to support their transformation execution and goals, providing templates and advice for clients to set these offices up. This gives organizations a good governance structure to sustain their long-term change initiatives and serves as a communication medium between the enterprise and sponsors. The Hackett Group also serves as change management leaders by helping organizations develop their change approaches, communication schedules, leadership guides and more. From a best practices perspective, clients often like to begin with The Hackett Group’s recommendations and advisory material as a starting point, and then The Hackett Group works with clients to customize and tailor based on their specific processes and culture.

In closing, hear our guests share the key lessons they’ve learned along this journey. First is to never underestimate the importance of starting change management early on in transformation. Additionally, make sure to involve all groups that will be affected by the transformation. In Tiffany’s experience, companies tend to create timelines, which are never actually long enough to complete these key activities. Finally, the focus on culture and organizational change management is really what ensures that digital transformation will be successful. 

Time Stamps

  • 0:56 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Gary Baker.
  • 1:25 – The types of transformation leaders are focusing on now.
  • 3:51 – The biggest risks and challenges for technology leaders.
  • 6:24 – How are leaders addressing these challenges?
  • 11:47 – The best way to measure progress.
  • 15:11 – The Hackett Group’s role in aiding organizations with their transformation process.
  • 20:06 – The key lessons learned.