U Can’t Transform This

Stop! Transformation time! Okay, maybe it does not have the same punch as the famous catchphase from MC Hammer’s iconic 90’s hip hop tune. But in organizations around the world, CEO’s are telling IT leaders exactly that. It’s transformation time.

What is getting CEO’s all hot and bothered? It is the double whammy of faster pace of technological change upending existing business models as predicted by Daniel Bell. With the entry of newer, nimbler competitors born from the digital age, legacy enterprises are starting to lose ground.

It might be too late for most companies. John Chambers of Cisco was quoted stating that “40 percent of today’s businesses will fail in the next ten years; 70 percent will attempt to transform themselves digitally, but only 30 percent will succeed.”

Yikes! So is digital transformation really worth the effort then? Can it make a big enough impact to save these companies? Jim Swanson, CIO of Monsanto, sums it up well:

“The most dramatic results of digital transformation
come through disruptive innovation.”

What makes today’s digital first elites such fierce competitors is speed and the impact of their ability to innovate. They not only introduce new technology faster because they are more tech savvy. They also use new business models and new ways of thinking and organizing to iterate on ideas faster.

But you are a CIO or CTO. Or maybe you are a VP of Development or DevOps. Or perhaps you are on the front lines writing code. Why does this matter to you? The core of that transformation comes down to people, specifically the developers tasked with writing the code to create novel products.

Though developers are on the hook to deliver on the digital transformation vision, most teams are not ready. I previously touched on two challenges; having the right engineering talent in place and moving away from a tools first orientation. The third roadblock is fostering a culture of collaboration.

Innovation dies when developers are merely seen as a means of doing the bidding of the business. Where innovation thrives is in a problem solving culture where developers can challenge ideas and mold new ones. The bedrock of that culture is the free flow of tribal knowledge and sharing of institutional know-how within and across organizational silos.

How does the bedrock form? First by moving from the big bang software delivery approach and integrating a DevOps mindset towards delivery. Second is fostering an information architecture to support the approach. Knowledge is the third leg of DevOps that informs process and people. When you have a consistent and reliable source of truth, innovation is the result.

What have you seen work well in your organization to support innovation and how did that drive business value? Please do share and chat soon!

Is it possible to apply CSS to half of a character?


I have seen some crazy CSS stuff in the past, this takes the cake…

We help IT leaders in enterprises solve the cultural challenges involved in digital transformation and move towards a community based culture that delivers innovation and customer value faster. Learn more about our work here.

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