... empty technology buzzwords or a concept that describes the evolution of technology as it relates to business and commerce?
Twenty years ago we used the phrases, “change agent” or “organizational change,” but these were attributed to change that emanated from the business side of a corporation, and had very little to do with technology. Technology was moving so rapidly that when we used the acronym “IT,” it was synonymous with change. So it is not surprising that a business enabler like technology, with a rich history for acronyms and evolving its own language (PC, IT, CMMI, ITIL, B2B) would create its own phrase for change.
Does IT Transformation …
- Merely refer to cost cutting and leveraging the labor arbitrage so readily available in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe?
- Entail the recreation of IT to drive value with the rich set of information tools that are now readily available?
- Involve the innovation required to help change the culture and competitive nature of a business?
- Relate to the ongoing need to refresh computing platforms to deliver services in a more efficient and effective manner, or refresh the portfolio of applications with a more integrated, feature-rich set?
In the past, many CIOs have been seen as change agents within the business organization. Now that IT has been in place for more than 30 years in many corporations, it is of paramount importance that CIOs step back and assess their own organizations, and become change agents within IT. CIOs must periodically review and revamp their service offerings and processes to align with business needs and evolving technologies.
Is IT Transformation, then, a set of strategies that the CIO can implement over a period of time, or is it more than that? Does it require changing the way the IT organization functions? Is it a cultural move from the “order-taker” mentality to a group that engages with its business partners to understand and fulfill a technology need, while simultaneously driving innovation and business growth? It seems that this multiplicity of purpose is what hinders most IT organizations from “transforming,” as most CIOs find it difficult to articulate their vision and the journey required to change the role of IT in an organization.
In order to understand IT Transformation, what does that end state look like … and what roles should a business expect the IT organization to play? CIOs must become more strategic, be willing to take a risk, and align with the business, while constantly searching for technology innovations that will significantly improve the competitive nature of their business partners.
CIOs need to become the internal technology consultants who can apply the best technologies available to the most pressing business challenges. Their efforts need to balance the needs of their internal business customers with the need to effectively run existing IT operations, while identifying the next technology opportunity … quite a balancing act. What this requires is a savvy CIO who applies IT transformation only to those areas that matter strategically to the business, not to the areas where IT is most comfortable, namely in the technology realm.
The truth is, IT Transformation is not an empty technology trend, or a concept that describes the evolution of technology as it relates to business and commerce. Delivering results with IT Transformation means:
- Partnering with the business;
- Synchronizing business goals;
- Assuring alignment with the business; and
- Offering true value to the strategic discussions.
These are all aspects of IT Transformation that are required on an on-going basis if the IT organization is to continue to have a voice in the value-creation of any business entity and keep enterprises competitive.