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Want Digital Transformation Success? Get IT and Business on the Same Page

Every organization needs to harness technology and strategies to transform its business, and to move forward fast in a digital-first world.

If you do this right, you're ready to empower your customers and deliver personalized digital experiences across websites, mobile, social, and commerce platforms. You've embraced Age of the Customer thinking.

It also means you have the chance to apply digital technology to become a more efficient operation across sales, marketing, customer service, support, and even manufacturing and R&D. The digital enterprise is here.

Yet I’m still amazed when I encounter enterprise leaders and organizations that only pay lip service to adopting new digital technology, or ignore the need for real digital transformation effort. The true threat? It’s not taking this seriously. Your market and your customers will gladly pass you by.

Becoming an effective digital organization offers huge rewards. It also poses a huge risk if you don’t get it right.

I know, I know. There are many (many!) barriers to success, such as:

  • New digital technologies for managing content, personalizing experiences, and leveraging customer data. They are coming at you faster than your capacity to adopt and put them to use.
  • Your customers, who are constantly demanding more, better, faster –more personal!– digital experiences and online engagement, and threatening to defect to your competition, making execution even harder.
  • C-level execs demanding rapid growth and measurable results through digital business execution – right now – because they know that to fall behind in a digital-first world means they’re likely to lose their jobs, planning be damned.

But there’s a radical truth to embrace if you want to start getting things right.

Simply put, to be successful at digital transformation and to deliver great digital experiences to customers, you must align your technology and your business efforts. Break down the silos. Learn to cooperate, not be at each others’ throats. And, take the time to define a strategic plan aligned with business goals.

In my dozen or so years in the WCM and digital experience world, the lack of cooperation and strategic alignment between IT and Business teams may be the most common reason why it’s difficult to overcome the three barriers to digital transformation listed above, and why digital initiatives fail.

It’s usually not due solely to technology. It’s usually not due to lack of desire to change. Too often, it’s the lack of alignment between traditional IT leaders and Business leaders, so change – however wanted – can’t get accomplished. New technology decisions get pushed off; the priorities of IT clash with those of marketing; control over web and digital priorities becomes a battleground and nothing gets done.

I’ll follow this up with other posts about the IT-Business problem and provide some guidance on how you can fix it. I’d love to hear your experiences (named or anonymous).

Does your organization suffer from IT-Business problems? Are operational silos standing in the way of digital transformation? How are you attacking the problem? Let me know in the comments or drop me a note with “IT-Business” in the subject line.

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