IT Trends research – top 10 – Renewal of the IT Development Process (4) & Digital Transformation (5)

In this digitizing world, many technologies are rapidly changing the way organizations carry out their work. In this web of technologies, it is important for IT professionals to know what the most emerging trends are, so that the right added value can be obtained for their organization. We have been conducting the IT Trends Survey since 2019. The purpose of this research is to support Information Management and Technology professionals in setting key priorities and proper focus. In August we reveal the top 10 trends. In this second insight, we share and consider the trends in place four and five: renewal of the IT Development process and Digital Transformation.

Trend 4 – Renewal of the IT Development process

It remains a challenge to complete IT developments within time and budget. For this reason, there is a lot of research and experimentation with new methods to make the development process more effective and efficient. The survey shows that IT professionals agree with this challenge: more than 70% of the respondents indicate that they give much to very high priority to IT Development in the coming year. This puts the newcomer in the survey in fourth place this year. This once again emphasizes the importance of properly organizing IT projects, which is an important driver in the successful implementation of (new) technology.

What is innovation of the IT Development process?

The traditional IT Development process consists of six steps that are performed successively:

  1. Formulating Requirements
  2. Design (Design)
  3. Implementation
  4. Testing (Testing)
  5. Documentation
  6. Maintenance

Today, business processes, IT and data are increasingly intertwined. As a result, the traditional IT Development process makes way for a more iterative approach. Deliver IT solutions in small pieces, test and test with the user, adapt and develop the next piece. The research therefore shows that Agile is the most used IT development method, with 56% of the respondents preferring an Agile way of working.

In the IT Trends survey, respondents indicate that they see a number of developments within IT Development as most important. 50% of the respondents say they find Design Thinking an important application. Design Thinking uses methods and techniques from the design world to come up with creative, innovative IT solutions. It is a way in which a framework is experimented with in order to design the desired solution. Think of reducing crimes, whereby the behavior of criminals is first examined (what drives them, what causes this behaviour) and then defining a problem (what do they need). Next comes the devising, prototyping and testing of an IT solution with the behavior of criminals as a central point, in order to reduce the number of crimes in this way.

Another important development is the application of a hybrid approach to meet all the requirements of a project. For example, an Agile approach can work well to manage sub-projects, but PRINCE2 can be applied in parallel to account for progress to administrative level. For all parts of the project, therefore, look at what the desired result is, how this can be achieved and then choose a suitable (if desired hybrid) project method. Look at us Digital Consulting Platform which (hybrid) project methodology suits your project.

Trend development in the renewal of the IT Development process

The ever faster changing environment influences the way organizations operate and organize. Where Agile once originated in IT Development, it is now also applied to entire organizational models, see for example us insight about the Spotify model. There has been a true agile trend in recent years. By 2020, more than half of the organizations have been using this popular way of operating for three years or more. Also this year, more than 83% of the respondents to the IT Trends survey indicate that they are 'reasonably familiar' with being an 'expert' in the innovation of the IT Development process. This is expected to continue or even increase in the coming years, with new, sometimes hybrid, development methods also being applied. In order to achieve a successful development process, it is therefore necessary to consider what the desired result is for all parts of a project, how this result is achieved and which (hybrid) project method is desired. Choosing the right IT Development process (and arranging the decision-making around it) will increasingly determine the success of IT developments.

Business processes, IT and data are becoming increasingly intertwined and the approach to IT projects is moving along with this. Various project methodologies arise, which repeatedly show that an iterative approach is very important for project success. Deliver IT solutions in small pieces, test/measure with the user, adapt and move on to the next piece. This way you realize the most important features first, you have more control over the progress and you ensure a truly satisfied user. The most commonly used way of operating is still Agile. Its fame is enormous and its applicability just as broad. Some (sub)projects require a different approach. For example, Design Thinking will fit better if you want to dive deeper into the unknown wishes of a user, and the Prince2 structure is of added value for accountability to a managerial level. Choosing the right methodology therefore depends on the type of project. So look at what the desired result is for all parts of the project, how you think you can achieve this and then choose a suitable (if desired hybrid) project method. Choosing the right IT Development process (and organizing the decision-making around it) will increasingly determine the success of IT developments.

Trend 5 – Digital Transformation

Of the IT trends identified in the survey, Digital Transformation came in fifth place as a newcomer. A transformation literally means the transition from one (organizational) form to another. To make the right choices in digital transformations, new ways of innovating with ecosystem partners and external organizations are needed. To make the right choices in digital transformations, new ways of innovating with ecosystem partners and external organizations are needed. Challenges include continuous innovation and fostering a digital culture. More than 70% of respondents say they give high to very high priority to Digital Transformation in the coming year. It is remarkable that the awareness of this trend among the respondents lags behind compared to the priority it is given.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation is therefore about transforming organizations. It transcends technology, where a clear vision of the transformation strategy across the entire organization plays an important role. It is true that the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and blockchain are IT trends, but connectivity, autonomy and programmability are respectively the starting points that bring about digital transformation. A good digital transformation strategy is aligned with or is even part of the corporate strategy. Where we see in corporate strategy that it is divided into operational (products, markets, processes) and functional (Finance, HR, IT) strategies, a digital transformation strategy will have to be rolled out across this entire breadth.

Digital transformation has various applications. The most important developments within this trend are digital leadership, IT Awareness and Lean IT.

Industries and sectors are being shaken up by digital developments that follow each other at breakneck speed. As a result, many CIOs are confronted with the question of how he can successfully introduce a new technology quickly or better follow what other organizations are doing. The essence of digital leadership is balancing the external positioning of your company in line with the internal structure of the organization. Finding this balance ensures that the organization identifies and adopts technological developments in the market at an appropriate pace and that it is able to make a success of these developments with, among other things, the right innovation culture and the necessary skills.

IT Awareness focuses on the awareness of employees about the information security of the organization and the prevention of security incidents. IT Awareness is becoming more and more a priority within organizations, according to Statistics Netherlands' cybersecurity monitor 2019. More and more organizations are also taking measures against cyber attacks from outside. Medium-sized organizations in particular are catching up in this area. The most commonly used measures according to research by Statistics Netherlands (2019) are antivirus software, a policy for strong passwords and storing data in a different physical location.

Lean IT is the combination of Lean Six Sigma and IT Service Management. The goal of Lean IT is to improve processes within IT organizations or IT departments in a structured way. IT Service Management focuses on the 'what': which aspects and issues surrounding IT need to be addressed. Lean Six Sigma focuses on the 'how'. In this way, all relevant aspects and issues can be tackled efficiently and effectively. By eliminating waste in IT processes, an organization can deliver more customer value, which leads to more satisfied customers and employees.

Trend development in Digital Transformation

The Industrial Revolution did not spread until the 19th century on Europe. The pace of the industrial revolution is in stark contrast to the digital transformation companies are currently undergoing. In the first half of 2020, digitization was forced to be applied at high speed due to the Corona crisis. Digital Transformation offers many possibilities to digitize processes, products and/or services. At the same time, this digitization also entails economic, ecological and social pressures. Bringing together ever-changing technologies and additional skills, economic considerations, and corporate culture and structure requires prioritization and the ability to value technologies. Ethical considerations also play a role in order not to lose the confidence of shareholders and customers. A holistic vision from the CIO is needed to achieve a successful digital transformation.

In the research we see the trend within Digital Transformation moving in the right direction: IT innovation appears to be driven much more from a business perspective than from IT itself. A good way to apply Digital Transformation is to assess from the KPIs of an organization which technological applications can be valuable. So don't base the consideration to implement Conversational AI, for example, on the fact that it is a trend, but on the expectation that it will increase customer satisfaction. The approach we take to guide our clients' digital transformation is the combination of multiple best practices that encompass the strategy, customer perspective, innovative strength and agility of the organization. In doing so, we create a balance between maintaining the existing organization (Run) and setting up the new organization (Change). This process consists of:

There are feedback loops between all steps, plans are reconsidered in a fixed cycle based on feedback from the underlying plans. In the operation daily and per sprint, at a more strategic level every quarter (or directly in case of exceptions). Would you like more explanation about these steps or do you want to know what it can mean for your organization? Please contact Geerten Peek.

With the many innovations within the technological playing field and the corona crisis as an additional motivation, we are digitizing en masse, which is also reflected in the priority given to Digital Transformation. Nice developments, but there are also many challenges involved, while the familiarity with Digital Transformation among respondents is still lagging behind. Therefore, this trend calls for Digital Leadership with visionary, facilitating leaders, as well as IT Awareness throughout the organization so that the value of digitization is seen and used. The size of the organization must also be taken into account. For example, a phased approach will be unavoidable in larger organizations. Generic, a successful digital transformation requires an integrated approach: from vision to operation, rolled out across the entire breadth of primary and supporting business processes.

Want to know more?

Has this insight made you enthusiastic about our IT Trends Survey? Put the notifications of our LinkedIn page then on. Next week we will reveal the IT trend that finished in third place this year!

Would you like to have an in-depth conversation with one of our consultants based on this insight? Please contact Jurriaan Vogel.