Business or Technology Driven Transformation?

admin/ May 11, 2009/ Debate/ 0 comments

Should technology transform the business or should the business lead a transformation through the use of technology?

With the pace and volume of technology advancements embodied in topics like consumerization, digital, and mobile, some organizations and companies lean on technology to mandate large scale technology driven change where the business is compelled to accept new systems / solutions. In my experiences with this type of approach, a gap opens up between the business and technology organizations which is very hard to close. Technology for the sake of technology frequently fails to be satisfy the business. Too often this creates an over-engineered or under-engineered solution. Given today’s business environment, I am not sure any company can afford either of these alternatives. In fact, with am exclusive technology led transformation, the likelihood that the technology will meet the needs of the business is very low.

You may think that I am advocating a business led transformation in light of my comments above. The challenge with a business led transformation is that the business leaders and employees may not want to accept new technologies. If you allow the business to define the technology, and the business is wired to resist new technology, how do you make technology change happen? Employee and leader resistance to change a significant reason why technology driven change has grown. In some corporate cultures and environments, technology is used as a hammer to drive change. This approach is a double edge sword that addresses some challenges, and creates new ones.

Change is rarely “back and white”. The question of business or technology led transformation encapsulates this debate. Where is your company with respect to this question?

To gain insight on this question, pay attention to the mindset and culture of your company, as it will generate the style of transformation to be business or technology oriented. In order to lead change, you need a took box full of approaches, techniques, tips, and even tricks that span business and technology domains. Depending on where your change effort is in the lifecycle of activity, you will be well served to lean on the business at certain times (e.g. defining the strategy) while leveraging technology as well (e.g. overcoming resistance). Regardless of how your company may approach your technology enabled changes, you would do well by engaging your stakeholders with business savvy technologists to co-create a solution that all employees and leaders can rally behind and generate value to the company. For more insight on how to close the gap of engagement and generate buy-in sooner in your change efforts, click here for a related blog post.

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