The consulting firm Lucernys, which specializes in the technical and economic optimization of IT, has observed that too many digital projects do not sufficiently take into account the operational issues related to IT production. Yet they are the guarantee of a successful digital transformation.
Bernard Schmitt, President of Lucernys
How do you convince your customers of the need to involve production teams in their digital transformation project?
“1 – vitalize the reflection between stakeholders”
Bernard Schmitt: Too often, digitalization projects are approached from the top, without sufficiently taking into account the real problems of IT departments and production managers. These projects are imposed on IT teams by other departments in the company, such as the business lines, without sufficiently taking into account all the technical issues.
What we are doing is to vitalize the reflection between all the stakeholders so that the technical issues and constraints, particularly in terms of infrastructure, are well understood. From the start of the project, we promote awareness of the real usability of the solutions that the client wishes to implement. Some technologies, which appear attractive on paper, may in fact prove to be difficult to integrate and use.
At what level of technology choices do you advise companies?
“2 – identify technology opportunities”
Our job is to help companies choose and implement solutions that support new digital services. We advise them on the technological opportunities available to them (cloud or hyperconverged environments, fixed or mobile networks of new generation, tablets and smartphones, desktop virtualization, IP telephony, unified communication …) while ensuring their interoperability with the existing and their exploitability through agile trends such as DevOps.
What are the risks for a company carrying out a digitalization project without sufficiently involving the IT department and the IT production teams?
“3 – avoid poor initial technical choices”
BS: The main pitfall is that the “graft” does not take, i.e. that the new solutions are not totally interoperable with the IS. In general, this situation is the result of a poor technical choice at the outset, because it was not sufficiently prepared with the IT teams. The latter are consulted too late and find themselves having to catch up, sometimes by starting the project from scratch. But this poorly developed project will take up a lot of their time and resources that they can no longer devote to the existing project. So, not only are the IS evolutions not progressing as planned, but the legacy is at risk of being less well maintained. The company loses on all counts. Its digitalization project weakens it instead of strengthening it.
Who should choose the solutions to be integrated in the digital transformation project?
BS: This is indeed a crucial question. If the decision is only made at the highest level, it may slow down the project. Management does not always have the time to deal with these issues quickly, and some technical choices are completely outside its sphere of competence. If the decision is left to the business, marketing or any other department without real technical skills, the risk is to choose a solution that is not sufficiently adapted to the IS.
“4 – appoint a digital transformation manager”
One formula that works is to appoint a digital transformation project manager with some decision-making authority. Many companies entrust their digital project to a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). He/she must have a global vision of the project by being able to understand the technical issues as well as the business stakes. He/she must ensure the coherence of the project by building bridges between the various stakeholders, particularly between the IT teams and other departments.
Which infrastructure technology most consistently succeeds in reconciling IT production and digital transformation?
“5 – choose the right cloud model”
BS: The cloud is gaining more and more support from the various stakeholders in a digitalization project. It offers a new standard of agility that is appreciable for the IT department and advantages, particularly in terms of costs, that are attractive to general management. Of course, the cloud still raises many questions. You have to agree on whether to use an internal or external, private or public cloud, etc. But we are here to help companies make the right choice, especially when faced with an ever-increasing number of providers.