The Adventure of IT: How to Succeed in Transforming into being a Business Enabler

abenteuer it: wie die transformation zum business enabler gelingt

A little story about what IT has to do with the three musketeers and why IT is in the middle of an adventure.

Who is not familiar with the story of the three musketeers? D’Artagnan, an inexperienced Gascon youth, travels to Paris to join the elite King’s Musketeers. After various trials and tribulations he does in fact join the musketeers, and together with his comrades Athos, Portos and Aramis he overcomes many ordeals in order to defend the French Crown against its enemies.

The novel was written in 1844 by the French author Alexandre Dumas and since then many films have been made portraying the story. If you have read the novel or seen any of the films you will probably remember the three musketeers’ motto: “One for all, and all for one”. A motto that also fits wonderfully for IT. After all, IT is in the middle of a big adventure that will change its position in the company in the long term.

One for all…

For some time, the classical IT service management has evolved into a more holistic enterprise service management. It is no longer enough to provide the well-known and necessary IT services, you must also actively support the different departments in the company: controlling assets, optimizing processes and, above all, automating them. All this is part of the new demands on the IT service organization.

The aim is, strategically and practically, to set up the service organization in such a way that it can quickly, flexibly and efficiently support all demands from the business. In that way IT changes from being a simple IT service provider into being a business enabler that actively contributes to the organization’s competitiveness and its ability to be innovative.

IT as Hero of the Story

It goes for IT, as it went for D’Artagnan, the hero from Alexandre Dumas’ novel, who – a son of the landed gentry – sets off from home and becomes a respected musketeer. Both are about to change for good.

For centuries, transformation and change are basic parts of storytelling. The American professor and author, Joseph Campbell has studied the universal structure of myths for many years, i.e. stories that are handed down through generations.

One of the most important results of his research is the identification of a universal narrative pattern, the so-called hero’s journey. The hero’s journey is characterized by typical situation sequences and characters that cause the hero and his world to change for good.

It is exactly on such a hero’s journey that IT finds itself – a journey with ordeals, helpers and mentors, putting IT in the middle of the adventure:

The Call to Adventure

At the beginning of every hero’s journey is the so-called ”call to adventure”. A task appears or a defect becomes evident. For the hero of our story the call to adventure is seen, above all, in cost pressure, growing demands or image issues. It is clear that when it comes to the strategic orientation of the business, IT will only have a say and design right, when it is seen not only as a cost factor, but rather as an indispensable partner that drives innovation. IT must change.

Ordeals

Each hero sees different ordeals on his journey. Whereas the musketeer may need to fight duels with the cardinal’s guards and reveal intrigues, IT for instance has to deal with different trends and developments that they can hardly manage the long run.

Digital transformation, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things will seriously change the demands on IT as a whole. System environments become more complex and the permanent availability of services becomes even more critical. Growing data volumes must be controlled, analyzed and subsequently made useful for various purposes and areas of expertise within the company.

Furthermore, IT is faced with additional ordeals in the shape of tight budgets, lack of human resources, old infrastructure, lacking support from management and an extraordinary amount of routine task. A real Herculean task – and yet there is hope.

Helpers and Mentors

After all, there are different kinds of help that IT can rely on for a successful transformation – for instance, having marketing as a possible mentor. Marketing simply means customer-oriented company management. It is all about the consistent orientation of all measures and activities on the market and about fulfilling the customers’ wishes and needs. IT can and must adapt these principles in order to succeed with the transformation.

Also communication as one of the core disciplines of marketing is an important key to success. On the one hand, IT should first and foremost improve communication with the individual specialist departments to pick up on their needs. As departments that feel they are being understood are less likely to go purchasing equipment on their own accord. And only when all requirements are completely clear, can efficient solutions be developed (in a shared effort).

On the other hand, a cleanly integrated internal communication will enable a permanent improvement of the perception in the company. If IT consistently makes its services transparent and communicates them in an understandable way within the company, IT’s image and positioning will improve long term.

This way, of course, IT may also succeed in getting sponsors who will support them in budget negotiations or when decisions are made about the future direction of the company.

When it comes to service provision and transformation, solid tools appropriate for the job are, of course, also very helpful. For instance, it will hardly be possible to quickly and flexibly create solutions for process optimization and automation in the various departments without a flexible, solid and easily adaptable tool. In this connection, the tools’ ability to integrate is crucial – as it is decisive for having the necessary information available for all employees at all times, and from anywhere.

The most important helper, however, IT finds in its own ranks: It is the people working in IT, who do their utmost every day when working with and completing the variety of tasks they have on their plate. When these people stand united behind their management, supporting the goals and projects, anything is possible. It is therefore important to ensure ideal working conditions, as well as to commit the necessary staff to the various projects at an early stage. Transparency and information ensure the understanding and commitment of each individual – quite according to the motto “one for all, and all for one”.

 

 


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