​Why digital transformation needs to be built on a strong foundation

Digital transformation has already become one of the IT industry’s hot topics, and will continue to grab headlines through 2016.

“However, the pursuit of cost efficiency in isolation makes no sense and there is little value in enforcing rules that find the most efficient way to deliver the wrong answer,” Noonan adds.

“Shadow IT should not be viewed so much as a corporate problem, but as frustrated innovation looking for leadership.”

Think big, start small, iterate fast

When contemplating a digital agenda, Noonan says many organisations get stuck at the beginning, “frozen” by the complexity of the task ahead.

Instead, Noonan suggests that the solution is to start small by picking low-risk initiatives that have a positive impact on customers.

“Future success can then be built on a foundation of proven success,” he explains. “It is time to limit the number of big projects.

“Success is measured by timely outcomes delivered to the customer, not by the size of the project. In the past, big projects were considered to be a badge of honour on an executive resume.”

However, big projects now come with a lot of unwanted baggage.

As Noonan explains, today, many successful managers are resisting the temptation to create big, long-running projects, and are concentrating on short, tightly focused initiatives that deliver measurable outcomes.

“The key challenge is not deciding what to do, but what not to do,” he adds. “Scope creep is the digital executive’s worst enemy.”

Noonan says project governance is traditionally built upon the principle of releasing fully functional systems, complete with as many optional features as possible.

However, the emerging theory is heavily influenced by mobile apps.

“These start with a minimum viable product and then iterate quickly with updates that deliver increased functionality,” Noonan adds.

“The big advantage of this approach is the ability to leverage organisational learning by listening to customer feedback after each release. In a digital world, it is all about the customer.”

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