Digitalization is driving business models to evolve while creating many completely new ones. The entire business landscape is transforming. What does this mean for IA functions?
The role of IA is to provide the board with a second opinion on everything the business is doing. To do that, IA teams have to be capable of understanding everything about the business – only then can they help the board make decisions. But currently, IA functions are struggling to feel fit for purpose. Some say they haven’t been truly relevant and current for some time. It is time for IA to adapt and evolve.
What needs to change?
In the EY Tech Horizon survey, which we conducted shortly before the COVID-19 crisis, the results reinforced that almost every company was on a journey to digitally transform its business. Only 4% said transformation was fully embedded and optimized across their operations. And that is particularly true of IA functions.
For IA, the business’s activities are like a jigsaw puzzle. IA exists to provide a frame around the puzzle, and identify and comment on the gaps where there are pieces missing. But because of digitalization, the pieces now run into the hundreds of millions. For example, IA could ask whether the company’s purchasing processes comply with its own regulations. To answer the question, IA looks at a sample of thousands out of millions of transactions. Is the sample representative? Maybe, maybe not. So, to be sure, IA must find a way to identify all of the transactions.
Can a human IA function provide detailed insight over all of these millions of pieces? It’s impossible. Digitalized activities need digital tools.