The conversations I have been having with IT executives have spiked in one important area: outsourcing and vendor management. Certainly, cloud (as a form of outsourcing) is contributing to that. But it is also becoming apparent that we are seeing a tidal wave in the making.
That tidal wave involves the role of IT, and eventually impacts IT skill sets. And the best way to describe it is through analogy.
IT has, for years, been the in-house delivery boy. Like facilities, marketing, sales, billing – IT started as a corporate function – wholly owned and operated by the enterprise. That’s what’s changing about IT.
The role now is more like General Contractor – as in construction. Sure, the individual doing the GC role may have started with one skill set (like carpentry), but that skill set morphed into a broader role – project management, oversight, vendor contracts, coordination, and managing the project risk. Beginning to sound familiar?
Based on questions and conversations, we’re seeing that trend more and more. IT as GC. Some things done in house, but many done by suppliers, and those suppliers taking a bigger (functional) role. But as a captive GC, the IT role still has the best interests of the enterprise in mind. It also means focusing on the major business efforts, delegating smaller IT decisions to the line functions – while providing guidance.
The morphing of IT into the “GC” role means IT becomes integrated with the business and is heavily involved in business strategy – especially as the business continues to take advantage of technology and more fully integrates technology into it’s product and service offering (think the changes to the music business over the past 10 years). MIT CISR calls that “business digitization” – not exactly a term I am in love with, but it gets the point across.
So the questions I get about vendor management, outsourcing, cloud use, outsource governance, contract management – from practitioners as well as IT leaders – forebodes a bigger change to IT. IT not only affects how we in IT act, but also how we in IT think. We must think like General Contractors.
Category: career CIO issues Externalization governance IT Governance management Managment Offshore Outsourcing Strategic Planning Vendor Contracts Tags: career, CIO, Externalization, IT relevance, management, Mergers, Outsourcing, Strategy