Today more than ever before, businesses realise the importance of closely managing their business costs and achieving operational efficiency and performance. However, as companies scrutinise their operations, it becomes clear that outdated technologies and processes are still hampering their ability to do this.
A time of renewal
This is driving a renewed sense of urgency within businesses to modernise their IT back-office to support better business resilience and agility. And what could be a better time than the start of spring, a season of renewal, of welcoming the new, and clearing out the old.
It is particularly needed because today’s typical back-office spends the majority of its time “keeping the lights on” and conducting non-value-added activities, which need to be done and need to be done well, but often take up too much time without adding any real value. This takes resources and attention away from business growth activities such as strategic planning, innovation, and customer insights.
Add to this the market forces such as digital transformation, globalisation, stringent regulations, and ever-demanding customers, and it’s easy to see why executives need to disrupt this outdated model more than ever before if they want to stay relevant and competitive. This is why organisations need to modernise the IT back office in order to focus on the future, be more strategic, and make decisions based on insights gain from analytics. They need to be able to move quickly, get new products to market faster, and be generally more effective and efficient.
Defining the core business strategy
Any IT back-office modernisation journey should begin with a clear and disciplined assessment of the entity’s core business strategy and value proposition, as well as the perceived differentiators that are needed for success. Understanding this will help identify the business’s core competencies or areas where it needs to increase its focus, resources, and capabilities. All else outside of these core competencies must be performed in a manner that delivers the level of service that is needed, while boosting efficiency, lowering costs, and enabling managers to be more innovative.
Many companies look to outsource or adopt a shared services model in order to modernise their IT back office, while others are turning to automation tools and improved data management processes to provide stakeholders with insights they need to make better-informed business decisions. Some are dedicating most of their resources into digitised operations and self-service tools. Cloud technologies have also driven new innovations in the way back offices run and have helped organisations achieve tremendous economies of scale.
Transforming organisational mindsets
“At the end of the day, however, at the core of any IT back-office modernisation strategy lies transforming the mindset of the organisation. Back-office modernisation goes way beyond simply realising cost savings or operational efficiencies, to understanding what really adds value to the business, and more importantly, what doesn’t.”
So how should a company start along this journey? Many businesses are not sure where to begin, as each stakeholder may have their own business drivers for modernising the IT back office, including system integration and consolidation, the expansion of services, a business-critical system nearing its end-of-life, or customer and user experience that needs improvement. Concurrently, they are sometimes nervous about what they perceive to be high costs and added complexity. Even so, waiting is rarely the right approach, because delaying such an important project can cause even more problems in the future.
Having a trusted advisor on board
Ultimately, having the right partner on board is key to any successful IT back-office modernisation journey, as they can guide the business during this important transformational change, advise on the right tools and solutions, and provide the support needed throughout the process. A good partner will also help to clearly define what a business’s core competencies are, and pinpoint where they are trying to do too much, and as a result, lose focus on the true value they can offer their clients through their services or solutions. Without a modernised IT back office, operational effectiveness becomes diluted, and strategic focus, is lost.