Whitepaper Chapter 6: Innovation and Digital Transformation

ecs-admin 22nd July 2016

Innovation and digital transformation stand out as the top 2016 CIO concern, across publications. CIO and IDC research1 specifically rank innovation as the top CIO concern in 2016 (up 19% since 2015). Gartner research highlights digital transformation is a top priority.

Whilst not entirely the same thing, innovation and transformation projects are undertaken by businesses looking to respond to demand, whether from internal employees or external consumers.

These projects could be around launching new products faster, for a lower cost, and of a higher quality. This is key as the consumerisation of IT and accessibility of services is eroding customer loyalty, and making dissatisfied customers more likely to switch to competitors.

Why is this a CIO priority?

Since innovation and transformation projects are being driven by technology and digital, the CIO is ideally placed to facilitate and lead. However, some CIOs report struggling to be perceived as the home of innovation by their seniors.

Innovation and transformation projects are at the top of the agenda for organisations, because of the business benefits on offer. This makes it a pivotal moment for the modern CIO.

Do they want to stand up and lead the charge, or are they happy to let others take the mantel: perhaps the CDO?

“While CIOs and business technology leaders believe their CEO see the IT function as an enabler for improved business processes, they face a struggle to be perceived as the home of innovation by their seniors.”

Mark Chillingworth, CIO Editor, ICON Business Media

How can DevOps help?

By implementing DevOps, the CIO can establish a new way of working, and begin to focus more upon business outcomes and competitiveness.

DevOps transforms IT to deliver innovation and agility.

Just a quick glance at recent Rackspace research13 statistics (50% of organisations feel that DevOps gives them the freedom to focus on innovation, 43% of organisations have seen a noticeable increase in innovation since taking up DevOps) supports this view.

But what is it about DevOps that facilitates innovation and transformation?

Innovation: Optimising business processes

63% of CIOs are driving innovation by focusing first on improving business processes and operations.

DevOps is all about optimising processes: improving the speed, quality and consistency of processes This is not simply within IT, but organisation-wide (see chapter 4 on aligning IT and business needs). Processes are optimised through DevOps when continuous deployment of IT services through is achieved using automation.

Digital Transformation: Collaboration

A recent Raconteur article highlighted collaboration as the most important tool for business transformation. 40% of organisations agree that you need collaboration in order to innovate.

Benefits of collaboration in terms of transformation and innovation are:

CIOs are being allocated the task to transform the way employees work and communicate with each other. The DevOps culture encourages collaboration, ensuring:

  1. Cross-functional, aligned teams across IT and business, able to share responsibilities and break down communication silos.
  2. Risks and responsibilities are shared, meaning that fear of failure is no longer a barrier to innovation.
  3. Innovation is encouraged through activities such as “experiment days” that are often carried out under a DevOps culture.

This chapter is taken from the Forest Technologies (now ECS Digital) Whitepaper, “CIO guide to DevOps: The value behind the hype“, released June 2106. To download the full whitepaper, for free, follow the link below.

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