In a conversation with a CIO at Gartner’s EMEA Symposium at Cannes, they asked me that question. “I’ve noticed that Gartner is telling people to be more assertive with the business, to be out in front, why, what is different about this year?”
The question is a good one, because after three years of the drum beat of IT cost cutting and listening to the potential of emerging technologies its time for action. Part of the reason CIOs need to be more assertive is that everything is up for grabs in the organization.
Companies are restructuring, rethinking and trying to figure out how they execute their strategy in challenging times. That creates opportunities for new ways of working where IT can play a larger role. That need for a new concept of IT is coming at an opportune time as the nature of IT technologies is changing.
Technology is changing as new lightweight technologies like Cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), Social Media, Mobility and others have moved from ideas to realities. These technologies give CIOs the ability to think of redefining IT, its resource allocations and ability to respond. All are welcome at a time when companies are looking for a new way of working.
Finally, the power of information to replace cash, cost, facilities, capital etc is reaching critical mass. Due in large part to the fact that the vast majority of major IT processes are supported by Information Technology.
IT professionals have won the war of the last 20 years. We have automated processes, integrated those processes and made them available via the Internet.
The world was supposed to be a better place when that happened — and it is.
But its not a perfect place, so a new set of goals, a new vision for IT needs to be created.
A new vision for IT. One based on services, productivity, lightweight technologies, time to market, capability, capacity etc. A vision for IT that maximizes the return on our IT asset base rather than ripping out and replacing infrastructure is in order.
IT used to be able to define that vision on its own. We defined the vision for data processing, Information Technology and client server. Each transformation was led by IT professionals who positioned technology and its role in the enterprise. That all changed with the Internet and eCommerce which were largely defined outside of IT. The result was a decade of IT recovering and trying to define its role in that world to prove that IT matters.
Today technology advances are redefining IT economics, capabilities and its potential for innovation. Technologies like social media, cloud, advanced analytics and mobility all can be game changers in the enterprise and all create value because the leverage core IT assets and resources.
In July of this year, we authored a report on The Economics, Realities and Advantages of Reuse with MIT Sloan Schools Center for Information Systems Research (MIT/CISR) The report found that companies with effective reuse programs had higher sales growth and higher margins – even in the depths of the recession. That value comes from leveraging the IT asset base. That can accelerate with these new technologies.
Everything in IT is up for grabs and others will grab it unless the CIO and IT leadership assert the unique value generated by their group. That value comes from generating speed and scale, being a platform for leverage, driving greater degrees of digitization and applying new technologies in ways we cannot even think.
So it is time for IT to assert itself in the enterprise, but not because technology opens opportunities but because those opportunities transform your enterprise.