Who will lead digital transformation and define the future of business IT?

Traditional ITSM has failed to give businesses the IT they need to succeed, so what are the alternatives?  Simon Kent explains what will fill the void and drive digital business transformation. In my article for SITS Community 360, I explained why ITSM in its previous incarnation is no longer sufficient to meet business demands.

To tackle this challenge, a new approach is needed which moves us beyond the traditional ITIL/IT service management sphere.  There are many parties and thinkers addressing the problem of helping IT become more relevant and valuable to business and in this article, I highlight some examples to understand how the void will be filled.

Business Relationship Management (BRM)
This has become perhaps the most popular unifying phrase for explaining the growing movement to treat IT more like a business, with KPIs and services designed to specifically address organisational goals.  The challenge of making BRM a recognised and accepted term is nothing to do with its definition or intention.  The problem is its origins, beginning as it did as a part of ITIL v3.  Because of this legacy – and the very name – it feels like an offshoot of ITSM, perhaps too closely aligned to the old way of thinking.

However, BRM is so critical that it is beginning to take on a life of its own and becoming a popular marker and reference point for IT departments attempting to break down silos and build more beneficial relationships with the business (for more on BRM, its origins and importance in business today, read our Beginners Guide to BRM.

Digital transformation
Approaching business IT from a different perspective is digital transformation.  Interest in trends such as consumerisation, Shadow IT, and the Internet of Everything have occurred simply because internal IT has failed to meet the technology demands of the business.  Digital transformation in other words is about the business asking IT to change its ways and offer an alternative.

Even government has jumped on this bandwagon, with Ed Vaizey, digital economy minister announcing a series of initiatives designed to make Britain a vanguard of global IT.  Digital transformation is important because it has transcended IT to become a strategic business issue.  In other words, business leaders who normally give little thought to IT are aware of digital business transformation – its importance and value.  This is positive because it will help progressive IT departments gain support and used correctly, will help IT integrate with the business more effectively.  The downside is that if IT departments fail to deliver digital transformation, business leaders will increasingly appoint non-IT people to lead projects.

Both BRM and digital transformation are relatively high-level terms, putting a name to the challenge, raising awareness and creating a shared language.  However there are number of more practical initiatives and organisations worth highlighting.

First up we have IT4IT, a structure currently in development by the Open Group.  Designed to tackle what ITIL fails to address, IT4IT bills itself as being concerned with “managing the business of IT”.  This is a nice turn of phrase, backed by a well-fleshed out structure which describes how IT4IT connects with ITIL and aims to broaden the scope of IT services into a broader world (the diagram on the linked page is particularly useful).

There are signs everywhere of individuals and businesses getting to grips with this issue.    Apptio, a software vendor for IT financial management has created a CIO council membership group under the heading ‘Technology Business Management (TBM)’.  Another organisation trying to tackle this problem is the Business Relationship Management Institute.  BRMI is currently the most advanced organisation in terms of creating a tangible structure and pathway for those wrestling with the BRM/digital transformation issue, and as such should be given serious consideration by anyone heading down this path.  You can learn more about BRMI and its maturity model in our Beginners Guide to BRM.

My contribution on behalf of Sollertis is to help develop a software platform and methodology to make BRM a tangible and quantifiable discipline.  I believe that by making BRM into a visual and practical reality, it will help businesses and individuals put the theories into practice.  Click to learn more about this BRM software platform.

Are you aware of any initiatives or positive examples of digital transformation, BRM or managing the business of IT? Please comment below or get in touch with me on Twitter.

Picture of Simon Kent
Simon Kent
Latest Article