Part of KPMG's series COVID-19: Insights for CIOs and IT executives on considerations for building IT and business resilience in challenging times.

There are many paths toward IT transformation, and while organisations are making adjustments in response to COVID-19, it is imperative to address the implications on the IT operating model within the new reality.

With every change you make to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, you will impact your IT operating model across multiple dimensions: process, technology, governance, people, service delivery, performance insights and data. For many organisations, the future has been forced upon them now. Their physical, virtual and digital worlds have dramatically converged requiring scale almost overnight.

For many companies, hundreds of IT activities and priorities are being executed across the organisation, but is this level of activity sustainable? We consider four steps you can use now to create a transformative event, embedding the changes you want and discontinuing the things that are less valuable going forward.

Step 1: Understanding the nature of work going forward

The new reality post COVID-19 is not just about technology and digital solutions, but instead how the nature of work is redefined. Before jumping into foundational commitments of architectures, platforms and tooling, leading companies are first seeking to understand the full span of work being impacted and then challenging themselves by asking – what is the work we do and how does it add value? In addition, asking questions such as, who will do the work? Where and how should it be performed? Are critical in understanding the full value chain framework which in turn helps ensure that the IT function makes fully informed decisions that impact the overall user experience cost, and risk.

Step 2: Determining what levers to pull and where

The reality of this pandemic practically demonstrates the days of a single speed IT operating model are in the past. When looking for ways to improve your IT operating model, prioritise levers that strengthen and advance the strategy in the new reality. Consider how levers such as resiliency, agile ways of working, speed to market and cost competitiveness will embed in your organisation. During COVID-19, many business functions have increasingly procured their own technologies to respond to the surge in digital channels being used by customers and remote ways of working being adopted by employees.

Rather than seeking to revert to previous approaches, IT functions should acknowledge that these behaviours may accelerate and establish fit-for-purpose guards to facilitate speed wherever feasible. Always keep in mind what is sustainable for the business and its suppliers. Roles that will play key parts are the CIO, portfolio owner and internal audit, as they will look at the risk landscape of the new business model and make any necessary adjustments to the governance controls to enable faster decision-making while remaining secure and compliant. Finance should be consulted in case of any funding or budgeting impacts, and HR should be included to assess the impact and implications on any necessary reskilling, organisation shifts or learning paths. In doing so, recognise that more often than not, any major change to one layer of the operating model causes ripple effects across the other layers; they are all connected.

Step 3: Decide what to stop

Apply the same energy and rigour to determine what needs to stop or is no longer relevant. Could you consider shorter, forward-looking sessions to address urgent issues? Reduce complexity of your governance by streamlining your steering committees, change boards and design authorities? The takeaway here is that to emerge from this situation in a more competitive stance, the changes you are making to your IT operating model today need to include shedding historical baggage, not adding additional layers and overheads.

Step 4: Thinking about the future

While all organisations are experiencing similar short- and long-term macro-economic conditions created by COVID-19, each will move through its own reaction, resilience, recovery and new reality phases in different ways. When thinking about the future, ask yourself:

  • Are the business and IT operating models aligned on what the future looks like?
  • Is your digital backbone modular, scalable and secure?
  • Have you automated significant portions of the IT value chain to create velocity, lower cost and reduce risk?
  • Do you have an innovation capability that can continuously improve, harness emerging technology and scale winning ideas?

That said, it is clear that there will be different priorities and pathways for every organisation depending on your sector, company, region and maturity of your IT operating model.


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COVID-19: Insights for CIOs and IT executives series