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Accenture Strategy: Gearing Up for Growth Using Multi-Speed IT

How can an IT manager choose between balancing ever-changing business demands, going after opportunities, and keeping the current operation in one piece? The answer is not to choose. In a report for Accenture, Nicholas Bayley and John Shacklady explore this idea of “shifting gears” to achieve the right outcome at the right time.

Priorities of the Highest-Performing CIOs

It is actually quite arduous to juggle multiple tasks at once, and those who attempt it most often do not succeed at completing everything correctly. Despite this fact, CIOs are expected to juggle multiple tasks. Most IT departments are not designed to flexibly respond to the multitude of projects and priorities. Mastering multi-speed IT can place CIOs at the epicenter of a digital business revolution and give them a competitive edge.

Research has unearthed that high-performing CIOs have different priorities than the rest of the field; they seek to provide the right information to the right people, find better ways to interact with customers, and deliver new services or products. Many executives overestimate their organization’s ability to multitask, but 70 percent express confidence that their organization could successfully undertake multiple business objectives.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” model that works for all of IT. Top CIOs understand that in all actuality, they need to embrace multiple speeds in order to make their organization a success. Eighty-eight percent of executives believe that the IT organization needs to broaden its abilities in order to keep up with the needs of the business. One easy way to do just this is to match the speed of technology with the speed at which the business needs to consume it.

Building the New IT

The role of IT today is more centered around creating or enhancing business services. A smart CIO will take on the complex legacy system and simplify its architecture to support digital technology. One emerging trend is the “democratization of technology.” Self-serve is bringing new employees to the business, and the cloud is making it easier to extend the team.

Great responsibility brings with it great opportunity, and there is a four-point plan for CIOs to master the art of multi-speed IT:

  1. Recognize the business need for a varied IT speed.
  2. Install multiple governance methods.
  3. Reconsider architecture needs.
  4. Invent the “new” IT organization, locating the skills that will enable the revised IT agenda.

Multi-tasking and multi-speed are two different things. CIOs need to fully understand this, as well as what is required, all while maintaining an eye on the right path to get there. You can view the full report here:

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