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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Restructuring CIO: Transforming How IT Works

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I’ve previously discussed how CIOs are the new “rock stars” of companies by taking center stage in their organization’s strategic transformation. I expanded on this concept in a series of articles on the five “Rs,” from reskilling the workforce to reducing costs, building resiliency and reinventing how the business interacts with customers. The final “R” is perhaps also the most foundational: restructuring the overall way IT and the technology focused organizations work with the business. This gets to the root of how technology teams are set up, and how it specifically helps the business succeed (instead of it being a discrete goal like reducing costs). Restructuring plays out across two key dimensions — the organization of the business and practices and processes related to how IT approaches its work.

On an organizational level, restructuring is about realigning the company to put technology at the heart of every business decision, tying everyone to a north star vision, creating cross functional teams organized by product or service and measuring success through collective business outcomes. This is all about how IT works, from an organizational perspective. This often involves a heavy dose of well-known concepts like Agile, DevOps, DevSecFinOps, etc.

‘Build, Measure, Learn, Repeat’

In tandem with changing the way IT works with the business, adopting new practices to boost agility and experimentation is key. At the heart of the approach is establishing a “build, measure and learn” model to modern engineering, guided by customer and other data insights. Overall, this is about moving from a “project” to a “product” mindset, from thinking about systems to thinking about platforms. It entails hyper automation throughout the business, modern engineering mindsets and approaches and relies on data-driven insights.

The outcomes here are significant: From a 15-20% increase in productivity from hyper automation to 10-15% efficiency uplift with aspects of modern engineering (like DevOps) to a 20-30% increase in EBITDA from more effective use of data.

Restructuring in Action

We’re seeing firsthand how several companies are putting this into play. For example, a utility based in the US shows the positive results that can happen when a company properly restructures: the utility is quickly adapting to changing customer needs, along with the imperative to digitize many of its capabilities. This aggressive push to modernize is enabled by adopting product-based team constructs, adjusting the resource model to reflect digital skills, and leveraging coaching to sustain maturity in the long term.

On the other hand, we saw how one global investment bank learned the hard way that infusing agility into the business is not easy, with core enablement and developer tooling lacking and ultimately limiting outcomes. Now that they are investing in DevOps capabilities, tools and lessons, and finally seeing good outcomes.

The combinatorial power of product management, research and insights and team collaboration can result in significant value. Teams need data and insights into the data to inform their direction, guarantee accountability, help leaders prioritize and focus and hone inter-team discipline for effective collaboration. Many organizations are going one step further and infusing product operations capabilities. Though the way these are implemented vary (and in some circles are controversial), the goal is to ensure that data, research, insights, analytics, and testing/experimentation become core, team-level capabilities.

Rock on, CIOs

This final and comprehensive “R” implicates the “rock star” CIO’s ability to conduct the show and orchestrate different working patterns and collaboration, improving results rapidly over time. With this foundation in place, the CIO can become a key champion for driving business outcomes. Rock on, rock stars.

Andrew Sinclair, managing director, Technology Strategy & Advisory at Accenture also contributed to this article.

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