We are seeing IT-centric innovation become the key to competitive advantage. IT is not longer about delivering a rock-solid general ledger system and a CRM system that lets you deliver incrementally better customer service than others in your market. It's also about incubating ideas that can make sure you're the disruptor, instead of the disruptee.
For years, IT leaders have been talking about business alignment. And we should continue to do so. IT, after all, exists to support the business. It does, however, take two to tango. So while IT continues to try to better align itself with the business, it might also make sense for the business to participate more aggressively in achieving that alignment.
IT is under growing pressure to do more with less for operational efficiency. IT requires a lot of energy for both powering its equipment and cooling the data center. Yet relatively few IT organizations invest much effort into tracking the cost of that energy, figuring out ways to reduce that cost, or documenting any savings they achieve.
Often, we think that the primary obstacles to innovation are technological. Can we run the right analytics on this data? Will we be able to maintain service performance given the potential scale of our peak workload? What do we have to do to make this system more secure?
But nothing happens without money. And, when it comes to software, monetary requirements are largely dictated by vendor licensing.
Unfortunately, software vendors are struggling to keep up with the reality of the New IT, especially when it comes to virtualization and the cloud.
For decades now, IT has been like the metaphorical shoemaker's children. It provides all kinds of analytical tools for other areas to gauge their performance. But when it comes to measuring its own performance in business terms, IT has lagged behind.
The issue of IT's inadequate financial accountability is coming to a head for several reasons. One is obviously the weak global economy. When times are tough, everybody is forced to be more diligent about accounting for their spend and their value.
It is commonplace in our industry to refer to the applications and other functionality that IT delivers to users as "services." We talk about the performance of the "IT services" to the desktop. We talk about the "service catalog" that we offer the business. We even claim to have "service-oriented architectures." Unfortunately, despite all this talk, corporate IT is still not very service-oriented at all. And one of the main ways this lack of service-orientation reveals itself is in IT's opacity. Insider (registration required)
Mobility is a hot topic for IT. With the proliferation of smartphones, everybody is trying to figure out what kind of applications they need to deliver in order to make knowledge workers more productive when they're away from their desks. It ought to be noted, however, that as we roll out these mobile applications, we are also driving our companies' wireless bill through the roof.
It's always been tough for IT organizations to find the right people with the right skills at the right time. It's not just that the relentless pace of innovation is forcing IT to successfully find, recruit and engage professionals with solid skills in a whole range of technologies. The new hiring challenge is finding people who have both strong technical skills and CIO-like aptitudes for negotiation, relationship management and comparison of value.
To create jobs and sustain economic activity, businesses have to actually create value. In today's pervasively wired global marketplace, technology only creates vlaue insofar as it delivers concrete competitive advantage. Since small to mid-market businesses create most of our jobs, it stands to reason that if we want to increae employment, the most important thing we can do is to technologically empower SMBs.
To achieve their ambitious growth objectives and fulfill relentlessly escalating client demands, managed service providers (MSPs) are aggressively virtualizing human capital. Key takeaway: Enterprise IT organizations face very similar challenges and opportunities, and would therefore do well to embrace this same strategy.