The subject of IT relevance is a hotly contested subject. According to Forrester, 41% of business decision-makers believe that IT is an impediment to accelerating business success. In a recent Twitter chat, the participants addressed their thoughts on the relevance and value of IT. Disconnects, disruption and shadow IT were on the minds of participants. Not far behind…the subject of organization and culture took front and stage.
Closing the chasm
It is apparent that IT needs to change…and quick. The chasm between IT and the rest of the business is growing to the breaking point. In many ways, this is where shadow IT starts. If there is such a chasm, where does the process start to decrease the gap? The key is for the CIO to step up, and take the lead in changing the culture across the organization. Ironically, many outside IT do not believe the CIO has the capacity to make the shift. I wrote about this in Transforming IT Requires a Three-Legged Race over two years ago.
Awareness is the first step
Aside from ‘who’ starts the conversation, awareness of the problem is the first step toward resolution. The shared concern is that many IT leaders 1) are not recognizing the chasm and 2) if they do, they struggle to identify the first steps to close the gap.
For too long, IT focused on history as a predictor of the future. In other words, IT leveraged best practices as a means to future guidance. Today, the game is completely different. Today, leveraging history is almost the worst thing an IT organization can do. The past is not an indicator of the future.
Today’s organization needs to heed the phrase: Disrupt or be disrupted. IT organizations that are comfortable are those most likely to get disrupted by competitors.
Respecting the legacy
Don’t get me wrong. The legacy thinking (ie: culture, process, etc) and footprint are a reality within IT organizations today. That does not go away or change overnight. Equally an issue is that enterprise vendors face similar situations and are challenged to turn the corner too. This is about an evolution that needs to start picking up momentum…and quick!
Quoting the quotable
During the chat, a number of key quotable moments popped up. Here are just a few:
Bob Egan: If you’re not seeking change, there’s an issue. Drive change and live on the edge.
Mark Thiele: There is no comfort zone in IT.
Stuart Appley: Culture and trust are key points to today’s IT leaders.
After the chat, I asked the participants on Twitter two questions: 1) What was their one takeaway from the conversation and 2) what recommendation would they have?
Takeaway: Shadow IT is only a problem if you look at it as Shadow IT versus Shadow Innovation. People just want to get their work done.
Recommendation: Move away from the idea that everything is a sacred cow, you have to be willing to move stuff when it makes sense.
Takeaway: IT is in a great position today to become Change Agents & partner with other business leader to create value and lead innovation. The tools to use are collaboration, authenticity, empathy & openness to change & becoming a modern CIO business authority.
Recommendation: Help give big picture recommendations to help all modern CIOs. Become business leaders and not just another IT “guy.” In order to have a seat at the ‘table’ you must be able to think and act like a business leader.
Takeaway: Consensus on agile collaboration between the business and IT is the key competitive advantage.
Recommendation: A model of the new style of IT is needed. Example of such a model is the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model.
Takeaway: If disruptive innovation creates new business opportunities, then IT must realize innovation without disrupting themselves in order to succeed.
Recommendation: IT leaders must bridge the gap from IT Ops to business utility and show tangible ROI. Plus, have a plan to deal with industry changing technologies.
Takeaway: Be willing to take risks to grow.
Recommendation: C-Suite could better leverage IT staff hands on insight to social and cloud tools.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that IT has a significant challenge ahead. With the advent of cloud, DevOps, containers and new service offerings, IT now has the tools to leverage a change in process and culture. To be clear, these are just tools for leverage, not the solution. Look for opportunities to drive change and disruption.
Scroll the credits…
First, thank you to the four colleagues whom developed the idea and questions for the #CIOitk discussion on IT Relevance:
Bob Egan (@bobegan)
Amy Hermes (@amyhermes)
Mark Thiele (@mthiele10) Post: IT is more relevant than ever – at least it can be
Second, another thank you to all that joined the #CIOitk conversation on Twitter. Without you, there would be no conversation. Speaking of conversations, let’s keep it going! What are your thoughts? Is IT relevant and how is that changing over time? Join the chat at #CIOitk.