Towards a joint tech-business strategy

It is not enough to invest in digital technologies to succeed in its transformation. The first step is to align Tech and Business initiatives around a shared vision.

By Antoine Gourévitch, Senior Associate Director, BCG

Companies are investing more and more in cutting-edge technologies to support their digital transformation. Despite these efforts, many of them struggle to reach their goals, or even to reach them.

At the threshold of new breakthrough innovations, this impasse not only represents a waste of resources but also mortgages their future growth. It must be said that IT is still all too often regarded as a support function whose development can be disconnected from business issues.
This piecemeal approach is ineffective and often counterproductive when faced with a holistic transformation that affects all dimensions of the business.

To succeed, we must therefore break with this traditional model in silos and adapt tech and business initiatives around a common vision. Leaders of both departments and their teams must work closely together to implement use cases, select investments, implement new tools, processes and governance.
Without this strategic alignment and operational collaboration, complexity proliferates in often degraded security conditions, the benefits of agile methods remain limited, and scale-up sometimes becomes prohibitive.

Towards their digital transformation, companies need to undertake innovative projects that are likely to quickly create value, attract talent and improve operational efficiency. To achieve these goals, they must define a common strategy for both technology and business, and set the level of simplification and harmonization expected of processes across the organization. Only this global approach can improve the overall performance of the company.
All too often we have observed digital initiatives launched without having covered all the issues beforehand. A company invests in cutting-edge data and artificial intelligence technologies, but neglects to develop its skills, optimize its ecosystem of partners or simplify its IT environment. Another recruits talent and acquires the best expertise, only to realize that the weight of its processes slows initiatives and generates frustration.

To avoid these pitfalls, companies must align and coordinate the actions of their technology and business functions around the crucial dimensions of digital transformation. This includes defining a common operating model. Over time, many organizations have allowed processes to proliferate to meet the specific needs of a country or entity, thus generating complexity incompatible with agile digital models. Technology and business must together define which processes deserve to be kept and which, on the contrary, must be harmonized or simplified. Based on this joint operational diagram, a roadmap can be established by prioritizing digital initiatives. To ensure the implementation and monitor the progress of simplification measures, it is necessary to provide a dashboard that integrates a number of performance indicators and environmental or regulatory criteria.

This now essential collaboration between technology and business can rely on collaboration platforms. At the same time, the company must continue to work on the other levers of digital transformation by focusing on strategic competencies such as data management, implementing the cloud, rolling out agile technological environments centered on interface software or implementing iterative work methods. Building a robust and robust cybersecurity strategy for the entire organization also requires cross-functional collaboration. The demands of digital transformation mark the end of a piecemeal and diluted approach between technology and business.


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