I expect 2021 will be a banner year for the third-party services market. The main driver for the activities is pent-up demand from the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down or postponed many projects. But companies now seek to buy digital and IT services from a different perspective – I call it practical digital at scale.
I believe we’ll see significant changes in the third-party services industry in 2019. The coming year will bring some major movements and trends, along with disruptions and bumpy roads.
This year has been a move from digital transformation pilots to programs, which led to a full-on wave of IT modernization to support transforming to digital operating models. The question we must examine going forward is whether this wave will survive a recession.
It seems likely that the global economy will slow and even the US economy will come down off its heavy heights. If this happens and the economy decelerates, less capital and less discretionary funding will be available to fund companies’ modernization goals. If this happens – and the question is not if it will happen but when – I think it’s likely that it will start to happen in 2019.
In meetings with companies undertaking digital transformation or IT modernization, I often hear executives talking about advice they’ve received from their consultants and advisors on how to plan and manage these initiatives. I consistently hear different versions of three points. “We must have a detailed road map of our transformation journey.” “We will need to replace most of our existing talent.” “We’ll need mountains of money.” Sound familiar? Consultants and systems integrators (SIs) consistently preach these practices, warning companies that their transformation won’t play out the way they hope unless they follow this advice. But compare that advice with the real-life experience of CIO Toby Buckalew.
Traditional change management practices weren’t built for digital transformation. Here’s how to rethink two key aspects of your approach
IT modernization and digital transformation focus on changing a business and creating new value. But investing in new technologies and changing processes do not change a business; they just give a company the ability to change the business. Unfortunately, traditional change-management techniques are not adequate to address the level of change in IT modernization and digital transformation.
Traditional change-management techniques may help a company implement digital technologies, but they won’t enable driving the necessary change to realize the full benefits of the technologies. How can your company determine if its change management plan is effective?
The first step in determining change management effectiveness is understanding that your company is changing its business model. The traditional mindset that change-management tactics will drive success in transformation initiatives understates the immense amount of change and the nature of the change that is required. Managing business model change is far more comprehensive than typical transformation initiatives.
Many companies find they need to undertake IT modernization to support later digital transformation to create new competitive advantage. They recognize that IT and shared service groups must modernize so they can respond more effectively and quickly to the business needs. However, it’s a mistake to approach IT modernization with the same approach as traditional transformations. The changes to people/talent, processes, policies and philosophies are cross-functional and cross-departmental and cut deeper into the organization than many companies anticipate. Despite these hurdles, Novartis achieved great success in its multi-year IT modernization journey. I spoke with Scott Mason, Head of IT Operations at Novartis, about the company’s keys to success in IT modernization.
In 2011, Novartis faced a challenge of infrastructure instability and cost explosion. It’s a global healthcare company and recognized it needed to modernize its operations to prepare the infrastructure as the backbone for the company’s agile, digital business world. “We recognized that the modern technology landscape is about building the backbone operating model and competencies that prepare your platform for digital. That’s the foundation – without it, nothing can happen,” said Mason.
Prior to digital transformation to achieve new value creation, many companies undertake IT modernization initiatives to ensure systems can support the digital transformation. IT and shared services groups need to modernize so they can respond more effectively and quickly to the business needs for innovation and competitive advantage. We often find that companies don’t realize that IT modernization in a digital world is very different from traditional transformations in the past. It’s a multi-year journey, and the changes cut across a company’s technology, people, process, talent and philosophy. So, it requires a different approach than traditional transformations. The experience of a leading global healthcare company serves as an example of a highly successful approach.
Lloyds Banking Group plans to spend 3 billion pounds in strategic investment with a huge allocation towards digital technology that might give significant fresh business to Indian IT services providers. This investment is a 40% increase over what it spent on its 2015-17 strategy.
Jimit Arora, who leads US-based advisory Everest Group’s IT services research practice, said Lloyds is all set to increase its spending across IT modernization and business transformation to create a better digital banking experience. “Overall, while Lloyds has performed at par with the market, in a recent study we saw that other banks were leapfrogging them from a digital experience perspective,” he said.
I believe we’re on the doorstep of very important changes in IT market conditions. IT groups have experimented with hybrid cloud, agile and DevOps, and businesses have experimented with analytics and increasingly experiment with AI. Companies are confident they can now move some pilot experiments into programs, knowing they will support the weight of business transformation but that programs must be run with an agile rather than waterfall approach. Furthermore, IT and shared services need to modernize so they can respond more effectively and quickly to the business needs for innovation and competitive advantage. However, companies often don’t realize up front that IT modernization in a digital world is very different and more complicated than traditional transformations.