What is IT’s role in Digital Transformation?

by | Aug 14, 2023 | Business, Strategy, Tips & Tricks

Summer, Baseball, and IT! Yes, IT (Information Technology departments) is a topic we’re thinking a lot about as we’ve been our summer. I hope you’ve been able to enjoy your summer like we have in our family.

Is your IT group Service-Oriented?

The IT group’s position on the “service-oriented” continuum is one of several major factors that can improve the success of a manufacturer’s Digital Transformation. The question is where is your IT group at on the continuum.

Why It Matters

Digital Transformation is a team sport. Any one player that doesn’t pull their weight will hold the team back and be a factor in the team not winning the season. Additionally, each player has various tools (e.g., in baseball they are hitting for average, hitting for power, speed, throwing power, and fielding). A player strong in all areas a big contributor to the team.

The same goes for IT departments. The ideal set of “tools” is:

  • Service oriented, ready to help the organization
  • Maintains diligent focus on cyber security and keeping the data within the four walls (nearly every IT dept strives to do this well)
  • Not hoarding the data
  • Has manufacturing experience and/or manufacturing people on project teams

The combination of at least these four factors will grease the skids for moving the company along on their Digital Transformation Journey.

Go Deeper

Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are IT people. I have nothing against the people and their best intentions. However, there are some cultures, mentalities, and people that are not ready to change…and change is needed. IT groups need to be self-aware and ready to change for the better, even when it means upsetting long-used standards and attitudes.

We have had a lot of conversations with a lot of companies and their IT departments recently. Some of them have really surprised us. They are well positions to enable the manufacturer to succeed. Others, not so much.

We have found at least three categories of IT groups on the continuum

  • Hoarders – Holding the keys to the kingdom which is the data and access to the data, doesn’t believe anyone else knows what to do with it, may be threatened by change.
  • Servers – Ready to serve, ready to lead, self-aware, open to new ideas, al
    ways looking to improve, and understands what Digital Transformation is and how to execute it as a team “with” manufacturing (not “for” manufacturing).
  • Leavers – Open to new ideas, looking to improve, and pushing the Digital Transformation for the good of manufacturing that they take the lead and forget to work “with” the manufacturing plants.

(Note: Feel free to suggest better names for these categories or new categories.)

The middle ground of Servers are in the Goldilocks zone for service oriented, data-sharing, cyber secure, and have people with manufacturing experience.

Leavers have the right mind set and simply need to step back a bit to include manufacturing, and get manufacturing people on their teams to know how to work in the plants, ask the right questions around what problems to solve, etc. to get success.

The Hoarders are, sadly, the groups that hold companies back. They believe they know it all and can do it all. It often takes major shakeups from the top to change this culture and attitude, and sometimes full rebranding of the IT groups. Thankfully we are seeing fewer and fewer IT groups like this…where shakeups have helped get them going in the right direction.

Where is your IT group at?

Note: This newsletter is not a full treatise of this topic. For more thoughts and details on this topic please reach out, we’d be happy to discuss.

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