The importance of information and technology is increasing, but that does not mean that the role of IT is increasing.
Many CIOs look to get to the proverbial ‘next level’ and escape the ‘box’ that defines IT as ‘enabling, as a cost center, as a service, as something apart from the business’. It is time for IT in organization to reflect the changes that have happened in business and technology.
CIOs cannot ‘grow their role’ without re-imagining IT from the ground up. That is why the term Re-imagining is the theme of Gartner’s Symposia for this year.
Re-imagining what you do at the next level is not about applying current IT models based on assumptions of control, management and risk aversion. It is not about being a revenue generating CIO by redefining revenue as IT generated. That is just another land grab that will fail.
Re-imagining is about bringing something unique to the table, something that no one else can do. It requires recognizing and living up to IT’s real production function: Speed, Scale and Choice. Add to it what innovation brings to the table and you can re-imagine IT as integral in an enterprise that:
- Achieves its strategic and operational objectives at a speed that sets the pace in their industry.
- Realizes scale efficiencies in information, operations and customer value that others cannot duplicate.
- Delivers new information and infrastructure based products and services that are now possible through technologies like mobile, cloud, and context computing
- Creates new possibilities for customers, markets, the enterprise and the people within them as we are tapping a fraction of the potential of new technology, social systems, creativity and expression.
Speed, Scale, Products and Possibility – these are the things that CIOs can aspire to become, put into their plans and lead their organization from the front.
CIOs cannot do that when they see IT as the means and the end. If you push the business, blackmail them based on risk, corral them based on cost, claim an exclusive role or keep them out with restrictive management processes that “make the organization safe for IT”; then you will get more of the same. Eventually you will be substituted out in favor of commercially available sources and services.
Your organization, your people, your customer’s want something different, better, innovative, and valuable. Why? Because even in tough economic times, value stands out and people seek value, will save for it, sacrifice in other areas, abandon what they have and move toward you, etc.
Focusing on cost makes things cheap, but not necessarily better. Sure there is more for less, but more is not value.
Technology is no longer an object. Technology is something more than what you buy, invest in or operate.
Technology is an action, an ability. It is now a verb. Technology does things. It gives people and organizations abilities they did not have before, abilities that they value and can use to create more value for them and their customers.
Getting your head around this takes some time, as old habits, processes, beliefs and experiences say otherwise. Critics will say that while its romantic to ‘double down’ on technology in tough times, survivors are those the hunker down, cut cost, manage demand. That may be true, but is that really what your organization needs?
Or can you imagine greater.
The door to that imagination is not just open. It is gone.
An open door can be closed. But blow away the door and you are forced to deal with the world that comes streaming across your threshold. A world where the future is based on:
These are not some ‘pipe dream’ terms; they are the basis for making decisions about business, technology, products and markets that drive the future. These are all possible because of the infrastructure, information and applications we have built. We won that war. We did what we set out to do. But are you fighting the last battle today? Or do you recognize that what we did will not enough to generate a return or yield on our technology investments.
Lighter weight technologies drive this by giving your organization speed, scale, product and possibility. Technologies like social, mobile, analytics, digitization are asymmetric in that they cost little to implement, but carry the potential for disproportionate benefits. If only we see it that way. If only we want it to be that way.
That is why re-imagination is so important. Without it we face a world not of nightmares, but of limbo. A world where our own expectations define our limits as the rest of the world walks on by.
Category: 2011 2012 Leadership Management Re-imagine IT Small IT Strategic planning Strategy Tags: 2012 planning, Business Leadership, IT and Business, Strategy, Strategy and Planning, symposium, Technology Leadership