Cross-functional collaboration crucial for technology transformations

With the IT technology spend to continuously increase by 10.4% year-on-year (1), the urgency to drive technology transformations efficiently and successfully is evident.

Terra Firma has previously shared its expertise and insights in its publication How to successfully implement a digital strategy.  Which also highlighted the importance of cross-functional collaboration and the significance corporate culture plays in ensuring the successful implementation of any strategy.

With the IT technology spend to continuously increase by 10.4% year-on-year (1), the urgency to drive technology transformations efficiently and successfully is evident.

In the future, most business transformations are expected to be technology-driven transformations. With the IT landscape constantly evolving, corporations can embrace opportunities from digitisation and system consolidation, to cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), to launching innovative new products and services.

However according to Harvard Business Review, about 60-90% of all strategies never get fully implemented (2). … so why do so many strategic executions fail?

 

Strategy implementation challenges 

What are key roadblocks corporations face when trying to execute strategic transformation programs?

Terra Firma has worked with numerous industries and clients and one key success factor is the ability an organisation must collaborate with its staff to drive outcomes cross-functionally.

The lack of fluid collaboration between the business and technology teams is particularly critical when it comes to technology transformations. For examples include teams working in isolation (in ‘silos’); strategy executions being managed by some senior stakeholders with no active involvement of the broader team; cultures where limited empowerment and authority is provided to team members, or the lack of a single leader steering the execution program and multi-disciplinary team.

The above will certainly lead to ineffective collaboration and potentially failed strategic executions.

How can corporations effectively prepare for technology transformations, overcome roadblocks, and drive change successfully?

Based on Terra Firma’s expertise and insights, five key areas of recommendation can be highlighted –

  1. Form Business and IT Team collaboration clusters – For a technology transformation to be effective, these teams need to closely collaborate and form cross-functional clusters. The individual teams are led by stream leads: a business lead, and an IT lead. These two leads are accountable for the strategy execution and driving the multi-disciplinary transformation program.
  1. Remove organisational silos – A corporation can develop the most innovative strategy, but with a corporate culture dominated by hierarchy and organisational silos, effective technology transformations will not be achieved. Instead, transform hierarchical and isolated silos into multi-disciplinary teams collaborating closely to develop and implement solutions.
  1. Develop integrated roadmaps – The scope of transformation programs is often does not capture end-to-end requirements and interdependencies. This particularly applies to the business and technology teams. The development of cross-functional, integrated business and IT roadmaps with clear deliverables developed and implemented by all key stakeholders is crucial.
  1. Lead an agile approach- Leading agile and fluid transformations with business and technology team clusters becoming business as usual (and not the exception) is key to success.
  1. Set clear accountabilities and promote empowerment– Be clear who leads the strategy and multi-year roadmap executions. It is often not clear who the accountable leader is or too many stakeholders may be involved with nobody clearly in charge. Empowering employees to take the lead on developing solutions and giving them the authority to make decisions and implement actions is crucial.

 

Developing the most effective corporate culture is crucial and enabling the above five key success factors will create fluid collaboration between the technology and business team. However as always, momentum and speedy decisions from leadership is also critical to efficiently driving change and the successful delivery of technology transformations.     

Sources
  1. Digital Transformation, Statistics & Facts, Statista, June 2022
  2. Four Common Reasons Strategies Fail, Harvard Business Review (HBR), June 2022

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