What Jurassic Park teaches us about ideas and business-led IT and what CIOs can do about it - 2

POSTED BY : Principal Architect - MS Azure CoE
Wednesday, June 3, 2015

In Part 1 of this blog, we discussed how cloud is enabling business to come up with ideas and execute them without involving IT and how this is diminishing IT’s capabilities to drive efficiency, security and compliance. In part 2, we explore what IT can do to address this challenge.

 IT needs to reinvent itself and become a true business partner

In a business-led IT world, business leaders are making technology decisions. In this scenario, IT has to rethink the way they position themselves. IT needs to incorporate business facing roles in the function that acts as a trusted advisor with the tenacity to see the desired business outcome through.

IT has been traditionally driving operational efficiency, compliance and security by laying out policies. As you might remember, the character Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park mentions that 'life will find a way' as a response to the scientists who genetically modified the dinosaurs for controlled breeding. The case with ideas is no different, they will find a way.

In today's scenario, IT has to drive these factors through influence and through technology leadership. IT has to be the front runner in adopting the newest of trends in the industry that aligns with the organization's business requirements. Early recognition and adoption of these trends will help CIOs carve out a model where IT personnel and expertise is shared while service line managers can track and manage business outcomes that result from business facing engagements.

Now, many business leaders believe firmly that managing technology is their responsibility and not IT's, much like hiring people is their responsibility and not HR's. In the face of new age developments in the tech space, resources and talent are more easily accessible to businesses than it ever was. IT has to re-brand themselves to be seen as an adaptive and a collaborative entity that is interested in business outcomes, rather than be perceived as a hindrance. CIOs will have to take initiatives that drive this culture across all levels of the IT function to put it in practice. Studies indicate that operating expenditure increases across divisions adopting business-led IT to the extent of an additional 40 cents for every dollar. 

This additional spending is entirely against conventional IT thinking. The rationale behind businesses going about implementing solutions themselves regardless of higher cost is varied. One of the main ones is that businesses while implementing or experimenting with new and innovative solutions don't necessarily look for operational efficiency. Operational efficiency is not a strategy for businesses running in innovation or R&D mode; instead it is only a tactic. Hence, the popularity of cloud in innovation-centric organizations. The opportunity for IT and external consulting partners is enormous. If IT is equipped to capture this opportunity, CIOs will be contributing to the bottom line of the organization by reducing the overall spend on external IT partners.

IT needs to speak the language of business

In a business-led IT world, it would help if IT speaks a language that focuses on the application of technology rather than the technology itself. Traditionally, IT professionals are keen on speaking about the interesting capabilities of a new technology. However, business wants to hear about concrete scenarios where the application of a certain technology could drive desired business outcomes; outcomes that the business leaders anticipate and the ones they never knew they wanted. This is possible only when the new age IT pros have multi-disciplinary skills spanning the business and the industry where they operate in, in addition to their knowledge of the technology industry.

Go cloud!

That's what I think, what about you?

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Vishnu Rajkumar
Principal Architect - MS Azure CoE