For most organisations, the trick will be to identify - and then focus on - what matters most to their own organisation. I covered the impact of legacy in the previous blog. Anybody who has worked for, or with, an established organisation will understand why this was highlighted. The key for an IT department in the future will be increasingly how they balance the investments needed driven by the huge pace of change, technical possibilities and business expectations with the need to maintain and where possible modernise the legacy.
And... given the fact that much of the IT function is often provided by partners and service providers, how they best work with these organisations to optimise the value from the relationships will be a key success factor
Of course today's innovation will become tomorrow's legacy... We should not forget this either - its an important design point for new systems whether run in-house or supported by out-tasked, outsourced or cloud based service providers.
In the paper we make four recommendations for the CIO and the enterprise IT function - adding a lot more detail than I summarise here...
- Create (or more likely adapt) a strategic roadmap to address the change agenda – covering the impact on existing IT and legacy systems, as well as new capabilities
- Clearly define who is responsible for identifying and acting upon the innovation and value-adding opportunities most relevant to the enterprise - this is a key one for me - if you don't make somebody responsible for developing and more importantly delivering innovation should you be surprised if it doesn't happen
- Engage the help of key service providers – integrating them into the change roadmap and selectively partnering with them on the delivery of joint innovation projects - ok I would say that wouldn't I as I work for a service provider but if as for many organisations your service providers deliver much of your IT doesn't it make sense to engage them earlier rather than later and tap into their capabilities?
- Create a communications plan that reaches into the business – highlighting plans for the future and celebrating success. The IBMers and clients I work with will have heard this before - I think we as an IT industry often miss a huge opportunity due to poor communications - sometimes we don't communicate at all or when we do we do it badly - but do it right and see the impact... A comprehensive communications plan makes a huge difference to the real and perceived impact of the IT enterprise function on the wider business.
The conclusion of our study and many and varied client conversations was that most businesses will require an enterprise IT function for the foreseeable future. Yes the shape, size and certainly the mandate will continue to change. It may become more of an orchestrator and closer to the business but it will still be there. In fact for some organisations, the IT function may no longer remain a discrete entity but it will still exist.
And the consensus view form ourselves and many clients is that it will be those IT functions that proactively plan for, embrace and champion changes in technology and business expectation that ultimately see the most success.
It includes a lot more detail and most importantly the thoughts from many of our clients on this topic. I hope it stimulates thought, debate and ultimately actions. We'll be debating this client again with clients in 2013 I am sure.
If you'd like to know more please contact me and I'd be happy to follow up (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org).