3 min

Build Your Digital Transformation Strategy on These 3 Pillars

Create strong linkage to digital transformation strategies and reap the full benefits of ServiceNow by developing these foundational IT capabilities.

As IT organizations make progress on their digital transformation journeys, they’ll go farther and have stronger linkage with organizational strategies if they establish three key pillars of capabilities: an IT operational backbone, a service-oriented operating model and digital product portfolio management.

While these pillars align nicely with ServiceNow capabilities, I often remind IT leaders that simply deploying the platform isn’t a shortcut to transformation. These capabilities also represent structural and cultural shifts that are often overlooked or minimized. It’s better to think of ServiceNow as a critical enabler organizations can leverage as part of their digital transformation journeys.   

Let’s explore each pillar and the role it plays in digital transformation.

Pillar 1: IT Operational Backbone

A modern operational backbone provides the foundational capabilities necessary for an IT department to support digital transformation strategies. It enables IT teams to create operational efficiencies that promote stronger partnerships with constituent enterprise functions. 

The IT backbone has four dimensions:

  • Standard processes provide cohesive, efficient workflows across disparate functional teams leveraging modern and intuitive user experiences and automated efficiencies. 
  • Data is shared and accessible across functional boundaries to provide end-to-end visibility and contextual insights. 
  • Shared applications minimize overlap of competing applications and increase speed and agility. 
  • Shared technologies ensure everyone gets their work done on shared tools or infrastructure.

Together, these create an operational framework that makes routine work truly routine, so IT teams can pursue the strategic work necessary for digital transformation.

Pillar 2: Service-Oriented Operating Model

A service-oriented operating model plays a vital role in changing the IT mindset — and the organizational perception — from “order taker” to a provider of services leveraged by the enterprise to support digital strategies. IT builds and delivers these services based on business needs, with enough variability to support unique business strategies and digital products.

In the process, the IT department begins to function like a business rather than a technology provider. That leads to revenue-generating strategies and builds trust between the business and the IT team, which is essential to digital transformation success. Hallmarks of a service-aligned operating model include business relationship management, service-aligned budgeting and forecasting, and an IT investment model that focuses on the product/service value stream.

Pillar 3: Digital Product Portfolio Management

Digital product portfolio management incorporates the essential components of digital products and the organizational capabilities necessary to enable investment strategies that fuel digital transformation. 

These digital products may be direct revenue drivers, such as the shopping experience associated with retailers’ products, or the services that support digital capabilities, such as artificial intelligence and data repositories that enhance the shopping experience. Collectively, these form a set of business products and services buttressed by an underlying system of applications, services, contracts, technologies and resources — the digital product portfolio.

Shifting from project-based IT investment strategies to digital product investment strategies changes the lens through which we view activities. It provides stronger linkage of IT strategies to organizational priorities and associated digital transformation initiatives. This approach provides visibility into supply, demand, cost and revenue dimensions that inform where and how to invest across the enterprise. The result is a new perspective that looks at digital products holistically as value streams in the context of digital transformation and aligns IT investments with the needs of the business.

Bringing the Pillars Together for ServiceNow Success

An IT operational backbone with a service-oriented operating model aligned to digital product investment portfolios is critical for digital transformation success. ServiceNow provides the engine: workflow automation, intuitive user experiences, a shared data model and a single system of action that accelerates the IT team’s ability to deliver digital products and services at speed. It builds on these pillars and provides the technologies to mature an organization’s IT department into a modern, business-driven operation that supports enterprise digital transformation at scale.

Story by Elliott Wilson, who has spent his career in nonprofit healthcare provider systems. He has built an extensive background forming and translating digital strategies that combine with on-the-ground clinical operational realities.

Dale  Landowski

Dale Landowski

CDW Expert
Dale Landowski is a strategic thinker and leader in enterprise architecture, data center operations, product management, and ServiceNow program management. He is the ServiceNow solutions IT service management practice manager at CDW, focusing on extending the IT value chain and providing holistic, cost-competitive and customer-centric solutions.