Transformation in transformation - Digitisation also changes the tasks of IT service providers
// by Matthias Rensing
IT & Management Consulting, IT Sourcing, Process Automation, Provider Management
The digital transformation of the economy has many facets - even in the understanding of the roles of its most important players there is much movement.
Digital transformation is everywhere! As if the IT-technological development of the last decades had only been an insignificant foreplay, digitization is on everyone's lips. No socially relevant field remains unaffected by this and it seems to be all about the question of speed. The demand for agility and flexibility sets the pace, and this has already clarified what the dynamics of digitization are aimed at. The different players are quite differently positioned and IT departments in companies are often unable to keep up with the pace on their own. Sourcing to IT service providers can relieve the burden on them, whether they are external service providers or internal service providers in larger groups. However, the ever-increasing expectations from business about the speed and scope of digital transformation are also changing the relationship between IT departments and their service providers. In the future, they will have to move much closer to the specialist departments in the companies in order to be able to deliver precisely and quickly.
IT departments are traditionally the controlling department for external supporters
In some IT departments, in view of the ongoing discussion about "digitization", there is widespread discontent, and not infrequently sentences such as:"Digitization has been going on for 40 years, what's new about it?". This may not be wrong, but a closer look reveals the qualitative leap. Many companies are already undergoing digital transformation. Digitization has arrived in these companies as an open promise of more speed, more customer proximity and more precision in business, and today's IT requirements come from there. Topics on the digital agenda include virtualization and the cloud,"Anything as a service","mobile way of working" and "Big Data Analysis" as well as the operation of these services and platforms. Internal IT is sometimes not strong enough in terms of personnel and expertise. This is why sourcing in all its facets has long since become an integral part of the everyday life of corporate IT. Today, corporate IT increasingly also means controlling providers and being the first point of contact for specialist departments before they "play around" and establish a shadow IT in the company in separate agreements. The internal IT department must develop into a business enabler in order to maintain its standing in the company.
IT service provider on its way to becoming a full-service agency
In the relationship between IT service providers and their customers, it is not the applications they use that are traditionally important, but the ongoing service and successful business. On this basis, IT service providers are leveraging their synergy effects. However, the value-added promise of "digitization" triggers ever more precise demands on customers and departments as to what IT should achieve. And this is where the IT service providers have to react.
They must be able to respond and deliver flexibly to the precise requirements, so that they cannot avoid a deeper understanding of the business requirements. Service providers must focus on individual processes, services and applications and be able to act proactively and make recommendations. In addition, intra-group IT service providers must also keep an eye on the Group's business development in order to be able to identify and monitor internationalization trends at an early stage, for example. Here too, agility and flexibility are the key to success.
As a strategic partner of companies for their digitization needs, IT service providers not only need professional and process-related know-how, they also have to be able to serve "soft factors", since in companies often obsolete organizational structures slow down digitization. Put simply, IT service providers must learn to moderate.
IT service providers are thus increasingly disputing the "hot wire" between companies and specialist departments with IT departments. A role conflict is looming.
IT service providers can be at the forefront of the movement
Often digitisation in companies is progressing slowly and cautiously. IT service providers - especially if they operate in large corporations and have the relevant overview knowledge - can become drivers of development through know-how, lead times and appropriate professional initiatives. Its traditional role as an external service provider is thus considerably enhanced.
Digitisation often dramatically shortens sourcing cycles
In the future, no company will want to run complex IT services such as an SAP environment here today, in a different cloud tomorrow, and back there the day after tomorrow. The limits of agility and flexibility are obvious in such cases. Nevertheless, the digitization dynamics described above often require a much shorter sourcing cycle. Serving them requires up-to-date know-how in all technical, legal and commercial aspects of sourcing.
- Digital transformation influences all relevant social and economic actors. Grown roles are changing.
- Digitisation is always associated with the implicit promise of greater speed, customer proximity and precision. IT departments are sometimes unable to keep up with the pace of change demanded by their own resources. They are increasingly becoming provider-controller and convey the requirements of the business.
- For their part, IT service providers are actively approaching demanding customers in the specialist departments of companies, often overlooking internal IT. A competition between the IT department and external IT service providers for the leading role in the digitization process seems to be unavoidable.
- The pressure on speed and precision in the digitization process also accelerates sourcing cycles considerably. Sourcing experts can provide invaluable support for the resulting challenges.
noventum consulting GmbH