CIODigital Disruption

Faith in IT Is Dead: How Enterprise IT Must Reinvent Itself

If we are being frank, just about every IT article says IT needs to reinvent itself, but the arguments are becoming more compelling and precise. A white paper from Accenture by Mazen Baroudi and Matthew Taylor finds that many business leaders these days are actually choosing to work around IT, rather than with it, when it comes to selecting “as-a-service” providers. If IT is to change such attitudes, it must change itself.

Floundering Governance

The Accenture data supports that IT is treated as an afterthought in sourcing decisions. The research in this case comprises responses from over 1,800 executives globally, 70 percent of whom are CIOs or CTOs. Over 70 percent of respondents’ businesses do not involve internal IT until an as-a-service option has already been selected, and nearly 40 percent only involve IT for or after implementation. Essentially, the problem here is that technology is more valued than ever, but few perceive IT as actually up to the task of knowing how to use it. Here are some further dour numbers:

Our research found that 77 percent of respondents feel that the IT organization lacks the skill sets for an as-a-service world. Forty-two percent believe that enterprise IT takes longer to implement solutions; 39 percent say that IT adds limited value. In addition, Accenture’s 2015 Technology Vision survey found that expectations for enterprise IT to drive innovation dropped from 71 percent to 34 percent over the past two years. Enterprise IT is at risk of being marginalized.

The greater risk is to the business itself, if fragmentary technology solutions are never properly integrated under the blanket of governance. Data silos quickly become potholes in the road to end-to-end IT. The authors however recommend four strategies to reposition IT moving forward.

Reinvention Strategies

The first strategy is to “self-test” IT and its service broker capabilities. This means investigating fundamental concerns like how quickly new features can be introduced, and scrutinizing how clients get charged for products and services. The second strategy (brace yourself for an eye roll) is to adopt a startup mentality. The ultimate end goal in that regard is to move at the speed of a startup while still flexing all the muscle that comes with being a big organization. To make this anyway near possible though, it will require deep operational reconsiderations regarding processes, governance, functions, KPIs, tools, and organizational structures.

The third directive to remember is to not “let the old organization kill off the new one.” In other words, the would-be disruptors in the organization need to be given space to try new things without upholders of the status quo dragging them down. The final strategy the authors provide is for IT to act like an external service provider, as opposed to a service monopoly. IT should have to compete for “business” like any other provider—and support competition when it is selected—in order for the organization to get the best overall experience.

Service Capability

The authors of the research conclude with a series of questions you can ask in order to measure your service broker and providing capabilities in IT:

  • Does your department operate as a cost center or revenue generator?
  • How often are you proactively pushing new technologies and software features to the business?
  • What is the next product you are planning to build for your clients, and how long will it take to deploy?
  • When problems arise, how many options do you provide users for entering a service ticket, and how quickly do you resolve?
  • Have you developed your solutions to be platform-based, and are you enabling a platform-based approach?

For IT to increase and maintain its effectiveness moving forward, it must convince the business of its understanding of and dedication to service. You can view the full white paper here:

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