‘Capacity-centred IT’ is a concept that was introduced at last year’s CIO Summit by Innovation Solution Evangelist, Carrie Nauyalis. Capacity is concerned with having the right IT staff with the right skills and the right availability. As Nauyalis explained, “People are ultimately how work gets done in the organisation, so it’s critical that these resources will be available when it comes to executing on digital initiatives. If staff are busy working on other projects, it’s going to be difficult to get them to work on yours.” This lack of available resources can be a serious threat to digital transformation success.
Readily available resources
Worryingly, capacity is commonly overlooked in the digital strategy design phase, resulting in IT leaders failing to acknowledge that many of the critical resources required to facilitate their digital transformation will not be available in-house. This could be the product managers who are literate in cutting-edge technologies that can be used to reshape the consumer decision journey, the experienced business and data analysts who can extract useful insights from customer data, or the user experience experts and design-oriented content managers who can ensure that the offerings will appeal to target audiences.
Without the right resources and talent to implement digital initiatives, CIOs risk:
- Not being able to complete projects on time
- Not being able to innovate fast enough
- Increased project costs
- Dissatisfied customers
- Missed business opportunities due to not being able to stay ahead of trends and respond fast enough
As Nauyalis explained, this is why capacity planning and resource management are necessary:
In addition to strategy planning, CIOs need to be able to plan for the future. Demand for IT resources has always exceeded supply, meaning resources have been stretched too thin, but digitisation requirements have pushed this to an all-time high. Before you take a digital strategy to the board for approval, make sure you have the resources to execute against it. If not, you risk two scenarios. Either the strategy gets knocked back by the board and you need to make the necessary amendments; or, the strategy gets approved and the project is stalled come implementation due to not having the right talent available at the right time.
Once the strategy is in the execution process, the staff involved need to be effectively managed. CIOs are expected to move quickly and ensure that staff are working on the right priorities.
Another factor to consider in resource management is the issue of engaging employees in other line of business functions. CIOs need to understand the reality that just because IT is excited about digital transformation does not mean the rest of the organisation is. Staff are more concerned with how a digital transformation will affect their role, what they will have to do differently, and what new systems they will have to engage with – all of which can lead to resistance and an unwillingness to cooperate.
By assessing their needs, IT leaders will be able to identify where they’re lacking the necessary expertise in critical technology areas, which could be user-interface design or agile software development. While you may think your IT department can handle a company-wide digitisation initiative, it may only be equipped enough to manage smaller scale digital projects, in which case you need to create capacity by hiring or developing the appropriate talent.
Without the available resources, your digital strategy either won’t get approved or won’t get implemented. Successful execution of digital initiatives through capacity planning and resource management is ultimately how IT becomes a partner with the business in the digitisation process.
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