Oct 16, 2020

McKinsey: Core-technology transformation

Digital Transformation
Janet Brice
4 min
Digital innovation and technology transformation
Three-step guide to a holistic transformation which fuses technology and business goals, according to McKinsey & Company...

As companies face strong market pressures to transform their technology, consultants McKinsey & Company has produced a three-step guide to navigate the challenges.

Successful transformations demand a disciplined approach, a top-team mindset, that holistically fuses technology and business goals, plus an execution tailored to the complexity of core-technology.

The report, Overcoming the core-technology transformation stalemate, states these changes need a requires a shift in mindset, from thinking of IT as a function to understanding technology as fundamental to all aspects of the business. 

“This is the primary responsibility of all leadership, especially the CEO, who must demonstrate unflagging commitment to the effort. From there, companies can manage the three steps,” advises McKinsey & Company.

Despite a growing pressure to adapt many companies face a set of common fears and misconceptions. McKinsey & Company calls on leaders to overcome these barriers as they point out the payoffs for successful transformations are substantial. 

“We have seen organisations increase run and change productivity by 20% double the speed of delivery and decrease risk and resilience issues by a third. While core-technology transformations are complex, they are also critical to remaining competitive in a rapidly digitising world,” says the report.  

Three steps to core-technology transformation:

  • Repaint - by making the minimum investment to maintain existing operations and digital channels 
  • Renovate - through gradual but persistent upgrades of the core and improvements when necessary 
  • Rebuild and replace - by building or buying a completely new IT stack (or large portions of it) and migrating the existing business to it 

“Which approach or archetype is right for a company depends on its particular circumstances. Companies under significant financial pressure may need to repaint, with targeted investment to maintain the technology stack,” comment McKinsey & Company.

“At the other end of the spectrum, companies that have significant levels of technology complexity and technology debt and sufficient financial resources or capabilities on hand can choose a greenfield rebuild approach.”

Holistic technology transformation

The report highlights transformations are successful only when company leaders believe in the need to change and start to work holistically.

“The more holistic understanding of technology’s role requires an entirely new mindset that enables the business and technology organisations to work as one.”

This includes:

  • Reimagining the role of technology in the organisation as a partnership in designing a technology-forward business strategy
  • Reinventing technology delivery to change how IT functions by embracing agile next-generation capabilities, building small teams around top engineers and developing flexible technology partnerships
  • Future-proofing the foundation through flexible architecture supported by modular platforms, enabling data ubiquity and advanced cybersecurity

A case study from one banking executive reported: “As we entered the digital era, there was a stark realisation that from a customer perspective, we’re one organisation. So, we decided we would fuse the DNA of the business with IT, with one group of people in each case responsible for envisioning, designing, building, and deploying technology to customers.”

Putting this into practice, the company shifted its operating model by grouping its technology assets, processes and people around platforms aligned to business journeys. 

Rigorous and transparent execution

McKinsey & Company suggests the third step should reflect deep culture changes as long-term transformation need to be “woven into the fabric of an organisation”.

As technologies are often complex there tends to be a communication gap in the C-suite, which can derail transformations quickly. The report suggests that leaders need to address this issue by creating a basic level of technology fluency. 

Detail the end-state technology before building the transition plan

The final stage should be the transformation team detailing the desired end-state technology system. “Input from engineers and architects with first-hand understanding of systems can provide important guidance at this stage,” says the report.

Execute methodically but adaptively, with success measures embedded across business and technology

Delivery of the changes can be approached with a factory model, where teams make technology improvements to journeys and then roll them into the business, much like a production line. Each factory should have reportable technology and business outcomes for which business and IT sponsors are jointly accountable.

“Each of these three stages should be supported by the enabling capabilities to ensure and sustain the impact,” reports McKinsey & Company. 

“As companies progress on their transformation journey, they may switch from one archetype to another,” outlines the report.

“There is no doubt that a core-technology transformation takes time, effort, and investment. These costs, however, are more than offset by the resulting gains in the efficiency, quality, and speed to market of customer-focused solutions,” says McKinsey & Company.

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations


Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

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