More and more companies are searching for ways to digitally transform their business. The goal of digital transformation is to beat competitors and better serve customers. According to IT market intelligence firm IDC, 40 percent of tech budgets are now going toward digital transformation efforts.
Any initiative toward digital transformation must use technology in ways that are intelligent, inventive, and innovative. So what is IT innovation exactly, and how can you make it a priority for your business?
What is IT Innovation?
In general, innovation is about creating better solutions for business needs, whether they are new, existing, or unarticulated. When it comes to IT, however, 56 percent of IT leaders don’t believe there is a single fixed way to define IT innovation. Having said that, most of Numerify’s Fortune 500 customers broadly think of IT innovation as follows: using IT technologies in new and creative ways in order to improve business operations.
Even though a majority of IT leaders view innovation as a moving target, it can still be pinpointed by the benefits it has for the organization as a whole. The goals of IT innovation should include:
- Increasing return on investment (ROI) of IT investments
- Improving efficiency and productivity
- Decreasing overall costs
- Creating better alignment between IT and business goals.
One reason why the definition of IT innovation is so malleable is because it takes different forms for every organization. Depending on your corporate and IT strategies, innovation may involve moving to the cloud, adopting software automation, or developing applications to help employees do their jobs better.
Innovation vs. Disruption
It’s important not to confuse the concepts of innovation and disruptive invention. While innovation seeks to improve upon what exists, disruption is about thinking entirely outside the box. It’s about rejecting the status quo and inventing new paradigms and behaviors.
When it comes to improving your IT situation, not everyone can (or needs to) be the next Thomas Edison. Innovation is about being evolutionary, not revolutionary. By using your existing IT solutions in smarter, better, more efficient ways, you can be innovative without having to break the bank or creating turmoil within your business processes.
Examples of IT Innovation
IT innovation can be used to improve the experiences of both external and internal customers. For example, the Boston Medical Center hospital has used data analytics to improve scheduling decisions for physicians in the operating room.
Supermarket chain Kroger has been an unexpected champion of IT innovation in the food retail industry. The company has become an early adopter of exciting business technologies such as data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT).
What’s more, Kroger has recently launched Sunrise Technologies, a business division that will resell proprietary technology to its competitors. These devices include everything from digital price tags to remote temperature monitors and infrared cameras to track the number of customers in a store.
Kroger clearly demonstrates that the future of IT isn’t just about cutting costs. It’s also about increasing revenue and better positioning your company for changes in the business landscape. In order to make that happen, your IT team needs powerful, reliable solutions for data analytics.
How Can Enterprises Drive IT Innovation?
Before you can look at the big picture for your organization, you need IT analytics to put things in perspective. Formulating and executing initiatives for digital transformation requires you to have a clear picture of your business operations so that you can more easily choose the right path forward.
From inefficient testing procedures to wasted effort and feature creep, far too many companies struggle with the same repeated patterns across multiple projects in the software development life cycle. Intelligent analytics platforms can help you identify the root causes of these problems and the most effective ways of resolving them.
Analytics can also help you continuously measure the impact of all your IT innovations, big and small. By selecting the right metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), you can determine which ideas have been a smashing success and which are best forgotten about. Establishing “laboratories” of innovation within a single team or department allows you to scale the experiments that work to the rest of the business.
Fostering strong communication and collaboration is essential to build a culture of IT innovation within your company. Analytics can help managers and executives answer questions such as:
- On which project phases do we spend the most time?
- What are the most in-demand skills?
- How does access to resources (or lack thereof) impact our project deadlines?
By providing this valuable information, analytics solutions will improve the transparency and visibility of your leaders’ decisions.
Without the right tool stack, however, any effort to drive IT innovation within your company won’t go very far. Trying to manage things manually (like keeping track of complex datasets with primitive spreadsheets) isn’t enough for the insights you need to remain competitive as a business. Even just relying on IT service management won’t allow you to effectively measure your progress against IT innovation.
Any organization committed to IT innovation must have a robust, intelligent analytics platform to answer their most pressing business questions.
To learn more about choosing the right data analytics solution for IT innovation, check out Numerify’s eBook, “Visibility to Drive Digital Transformation: Why IT Needs a System of Intelligence.”
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