It goes without saying; technology is continually playing a significant role in how we do businesses. Many organizations are currently building momentum toward a digital transformation journey. They achieve this by leveraging heavily on IT solutions to enhance their customer-centricity and agility.
Although over 60% of businesses have already adopted digital technologies to improve efficiencies and profitability, others are still lagging behind in incorporating technology. According to Forbes, even simple functions like customer experience initiatives could be completely taken over by IT by 2022. Unfortunately, digital technologies are transforming the face of companies faster than most organizations can cope.
The digital transformation concept continues to puzzle and challenge business leaders in many industries. Understandably, this is a broad and complex concept, but today we want to explore one critical aspect – transitioning from business and IT systems to product-aligned teams.
A shift from projects to products remains a vital progress which helps industries align themselves around their digital strategy. It takes a lot of effort and commitment to break down silos and shift to a critically agile operating model, but the rewards are unparalleled for both business and IT.
Our focus is on why an increasing number of companies have implemented this model. We will also provide a brief overview of what this model means in practice and how it can help your business.
Issues Impacting on Company Functionality – Typical Pain Points
Organizations struggle to evolve in line with the changing business needs and landscapes. What drives IT spending is the urge to meet business requirements? Executives want IT to focus on continuous improvement, innovation, and business results.
The digital strategy for most companies demands business and IT to work in unison toward achieving mutual goals. However, business and IT work in isolation in most cases.
Business instructs IT to solve a problem and steps backward. Then IT tries to create a solution based on how it understands that problem best.
In reality, IT delivers technology to the business, which then embarks on finding ways to implement new IT solutions. The company might adopt a new approach of working with new tools by changing management campaign, training their salespeople, or coaching their customer service reps.
As you can see, this traditional business model is primarily centered on outputs rather than outcomes. Being a machine, IT builds new tools without a clear understanding of the required business outcomes. It is only until the project completion when learning happens – does this new tool solve the problem at hand or not?
Business priorities keep changing and evolving every other time. But then, doing work in large projects takes a long time since it calls for constant refocusing of efforts.
Imagine the process involved in creating a business case, project planning, funding, etc. – hands down time-consuming. This is where product-aligned teams come into the picture. Product-aligned teams work to mitigate all these pains quickly and effectively.
What is the Product-Aligned Team?
A product-aligned team refers to a practical and purposeful team that handles roles related to both business and IT. It is a cross-functional team covering end-to-end digital development functions. These include building solutions, creating a business strategy, designing future roadmaps, innovating, and ensuring adoption and maintenance of business solutions.
With product-aligned teams, the entire team is responsible for all digital development functions of the organization. Every single individual in the group will be able to focus on change management and end-user implementation.
Unlike other business models, a product-aligned team is not associated with an organizational silo or a specific tech element. As the name implies, the team is aligned with a product, which could include such things as Service, Sales, or Marketing.
In typical terms, a product-aligned team is akin to a matrix team. It involves an amalgamation of all the necessary competencies from IT architects to change management experts, working in unison to realize the relevant business objectives.
So, what sets our team apart?
What sets the product-aligned team apart from the other business structures is the fact that it is continuous and long-lasting. It also takes charge of everything digital in the organization according to their specific capabilities. On the contrary, the traditional project work demands people to multitask even with projects that are unrelated to their skills.
In the product-aligned team structure, every team member is allotted full-time to execute the required duties. The team has a Product Owner, who assigns different responsibilities to the team on a biweekly basis.
Also, the team enjoys long-term funding with reallocations done quarterly. Assigning multifaceted projects and waiting for approvals will be a thing of the past, considering the team can continuously shift focus depending on how important a particular role is at a given time.
The team’s success is not mandated whether they followed an approved project plan or created a tool to solve a specific problem. Real business outcomes measure the success of the team. And, achieving actual business outcomes is the motivation behind companies that have undertaken digital transformations.
Benefits of Adopting a Product-aligned Team
Companies that have adopted a product-aligned team structure can benefit from the following:
- Improved agility – reallocate resource up to 90% faster in line with the shifting business priorities
- Enhanced business value – increased cross-functional alignment and reduced silos can be witnessed as the entire team works to achieve common objectives
- Digital initiatives can be more aligned with enterprise strategy – up to 50% increase in IT budgets geared toward key business priorities
Other benefits include:
- Employees become more productive since there is little to no multitasking
- Employees become happier and deliver more meaningful work as they can see the impact of their own work on business outcomes
- Teams become more fruitful as they work cohesively toward achieving mutually agreed business goals
- Competence improves in teams as they gain a profound understanding of a given business capability
- Leaner working approach as the team’s key players postpone decisions until the right information becomes available
Hopefully, this brief overview gives you an in-depth understanding of why many companies are merging their business functions and IT solutions to accelerate their digital strategy. Transitioning essential business functions can be a difficult undertaking, but such reorganizations can bring significant rewards. Many companies out there are already enjoying the fruits of product-aligned teams, so it is best to apply this operating model to your company and enjoy the benefits too! And while you merge business and IT, make sure you get the leading sales productivity solutions for Salesforce CRM – Veloxy Mobile and Veloxy Engage.