Future CIO: the IT management value proposition

Fifteen years ago the IT Director for whom I worked semi-jokingly described himself as the Director of Gross Margin. He was, as was so common at the time, from a finance background. Technology in an organisation was a potentially unlimited cost to be managed.

The emergence of e-business at that time was starting to put forward the idea that IT could be about more than cost saving, but we were still in the aftershocks of the dot com boom and bust. The credibility of technology being a generator of revenue was weak.

Roll forward to 2016 and we find ourselves in a very different landscape.

In many sectors the real promise of digital transformation is still in its early days, but the nexus of technological forces currently at play mean that the relationships organisations have with IT is changing. As a result, we need to examine how an organisation can drive value from how it manages technology:

Governance

Having a regulatory role within an organisation can be a double-edged sword. Being the governance group for technical, security and data compliance gives power, but also can lead technology departments to be viewed as obstructive or to be circumvented. Can the role of innovator or change agent live happily alongside the role of governance? Can technology groups become more focused on governance as a matter of risk and reward?

Procurement

Software as a Service, cloud, mobile and consumerisation potentially push purchasing decisions out into organisations. Many firms continue the to formalise (or even outsource) procurement functions. In that context, what role does IT management have in providing support and structure for the purchasing of technology?

Technology expertise

Waves of technology innovation changing the technology skills and knowledge required within organisations is nothing new. But are the nexus of forces of mobile, social, cloud and information pushing the boundaries of development approaches, development frameworks and infrastructural expertise required for managing technology?

Business acumen

The call for greater IT/Business alignment is one that has been made for a long while. Is it now becoming easier to teach the necessary technology skills and understanding to business people (making them “double deep”) than it is to have technologist brought up to speed with how to manage a business?

Architecture and integration

The need for proactively shaping architecture to provide for seamless integration between services seems stronger than ever across all domains of Enterprise Architecture. How can the value proposition for such approaches be expressed and become compelling?

Service management

The commoditisation of software services might seem to reduce the need for service delivery management in the post-nexus organisation. How should the overall maintenance of a set of integrated services be provided?

Strategy

As technology becomes more deeply embedded into the ways in which organisations deliver their services, is the concept of a standalone technology strategy of any value in the future? What input should technology management groups have into setting overall direction for their organisation?

Relationship management

The technology team is as much a broker of services as a provider of technology, and business units have greater ability to procure and manage services from outside directly. In that decentralised world, what is the role of relationship management both inside and outside of the organisation?

Different profiles of organisation, and those at different stages of technological evolution, are going to need different mixes of capability. Keeping an eye on the value that those services are providing to the organisation might provide a successful lens through which to track the need for changes.

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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