Listening to CIOs this week, it is clearer than ever that introducing a new model for employee and customer interaction poses profound challenges. When my 14 year old daughter swiped my iPad, and synched it with her iPod Touch and then synchronized all of her posts from Twitter and facebook and her favorite fan pages to both, I got the idea that a gulf was opening between the older generation of Business Application Designer, and the new world of apps and process designers. IT leaders sometimes treat this new guard like the Earthlings were treated in the H. G. Wells classic, Men Like Gods: the new guard are like the character Barnstaple, and the keepers of the IT Utopia want to shut them down because they are a threat.
I know this sounds extreme, but the “Application Re-platforming” conversations that focus on how to move everything to a Megavendor because they have end-to-end solutions may be missing the bigger point: the most important change is in how people interact. How they interact with one another as employees, as customers, as customers-to-employees, or how they interact with new business applications.
How are any of the legacy business application platforms possibly architected with the dynamism, flexibility, and openness required to build new apps quickly and at low cost? And to scale and interact with the hundreds of other Apps that would help people communicate, engage, and share data, information, advice, and actual applications?
The CIO will remain the linchpin in keeping the enterprise secure, in compliance, supplied with the infrastructure and core apps that the lines of business require. So how do they free themselves up a bit to add the new dimension of satisfying the connected customer and connected employee? This is going to require a boldness and vision that is in short supply. If that is on your resume, you have a bright future ahead of you.
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