Future CIO: Paradigm shifts

It is a conceit of most generations that we are living in a time of unparalleled change, and it’s also quite possibly true. The Radio Age, the Television Age, the Space Age... and now we find ourselves in the Digital Age. As Gartner have described, there is a nexus of technological forces at play with mobile, social, cloud and information all having an individual and combined impact.

For the impact that these forces are having on the behaviours of consumers - our own organisation’s clients and customers, and our own staff - is strongly pressing for a re-evaluation of how we manage technology, and of the value that lies in managing technology.

Information technology is no longer a supporting function for business; it’s how businesses interact with their customers and clients, and increasingly has become the product for businesses outside of the world of software and hardware.

Our expectations of how services should be delivered is changing rapidly as our experience of good consumer services increases expectations of transparency and how we should be able to interact. We expect our service providers to let us know far more detail about how they fulfil than ever before.

Cloud delivery models for software have shifted power as they have significantly reduced the barriers to entry for new digital products, and have diminished the barriers to purchase for business people outside of the IT department.

In turn these new technological developments are starting to change the nature of how people work - setting up a company and its necessary supporting infrastructure is a trivial (and cheap) task and so startups are springing up in the most unlikely of places; organisations are utilising virtual teams and nimble models of employment - from flexible working to contracting, business partnering and outsourcing.

In this maelstrom, it can sometimes feel that the response from established IT management is to regard the changes primarily as shifts in architecture: from PC to mobile, from on premises to Cloud, from LAN to Internet. But focusing on the technology alone fails to account for how the value that an organization derives from technology is changing.

Whilst there is still ample (if not increasing) opportunity to use software to streamline a business, automate processes and drive efficiencies, creating new products and services requires a different set of approaches. Product management alongside systems management, agile alongside waterfall, user needs alongside organizational needs. Moreover, as the value of technology changes to businesses, the value drivers for the management of that technology might be changing too.

Our established practices for managing IT in organizations are feeling pressure. There’s no clear best practice available for how best to react. As the technology market evolves, so must the models for how we deliver technology to ensure quality, reliability, good governance, cost and flexibility. It’s time to start that evolution, and for technology leaders to take control over their own destiny.

This short series of blog articles are the beginning of a debate that Matt is going to be facilitating at an event at BCS London on May 11th. If you are interested in taking part, you can register for a place.

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September 2017
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