Ideal approach to manage a digital initiative

In the case of large digital transformation programs, it is easy to choose organization wide participation in the initiative with representation of key stakeholders as a right approach to ensure inclusion.  However, the business needs that outline the scope of a digital initiative vary based on enterprise, making it tough to come up with the right governance model that can satisfy all needs. On the contrary running the digital initiative with the IT team, without proper participation from business will end up with models, platforms, and process which the business groups in the enterprise are not willing to adopt.

If the enterprise has specific requirements in digital enablement that are limited to specific teams or solutions, due to the nature of products and/or services offered by enterprise, then a decentralized approach is recommended. Here the teams who have a roadmap on business goals for digital initiative, can form a focus group. This approach is also suited for Small and Medium Enterprise with limited digital needs. Even large enterprises might start with this model, to have focus groups in specific teams/projects and then expand the scope of initiative based on results achieved.

For some enterprises, IT team is the de-facto group that handles implementation of digital projects. There are no shadow IT groups, run by business groups. In such an enterprise, having the digital enablement executed by IT team with participation from key business stakeholders is a good option.

If the enterprise is following an approach where different business teams run their own digital initiatives under shadow IT initially with minimal interactions and then decides to have a focused group for digital, then it is quite common to have resistance from different teams. Also the perspective of IT managing the show and business groups losing their independence of execution may not be acceptable. In these scenarios, forming a digital focus group with participation from different departments would help in adoption of the outcomes of a focused digital initiative.

When the enterprise offers digital products or services, then having a separate department or unit to focus on Digital is ideal, so that Digital products and services can be differentiated and offered. This would help the enterprise to manage its products and service line for Digital, including specialized resources more efficiently.

The key takeaway here is that there is no ideal method of governance for executing a digital enablement initiative. The existing operational model, the business needs, the team culture, support from leadership, and several other factors decide what would be best suited for an enterprise.

Author Details

Jithesh Sathyan

Jithesh Sathyan is a Principal Technology Architect at Infosys. He is the sole inventor of first granted US patent of Infosys. He is inventor of several granted and filed patents. He has more than thirty research publications in popular journals, standardizing and external forums. He has also authored several books. Jithesh has rich experience leading Digital technology track (from strategy to steady state), for several digital transformation initiatives in multiple domains, for clients across the globe. He leads Cloud and Emerging Technologies track in Digital Technology Council and is the Chairperson of TechCohere (Tech focus Group) in Infosys Thiruvananthapuram DC.

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