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The shift in IT priorities over the last five years is truly exciting. Recent studies by Gartner and others on CIO priorities in 2014 have clearly put digital innovation at the top of everyone’s list. The IT department is transforming from an internal “vendor” to the business to now becoming an equal partner in the C-suite and helping to craft business strategy.
The IT department has the exciting task of figuring out how to use technology to not only dominate their current market, but how to expand into new markets that didn’t even exist 5-10 years ago.
That’s the dream anyway.
The reality is that we all have our own tortured paths to get to this IT nirvana. Our job is to assess where we are right now, determine where we want to go, and plan the best route to get there. And that route is never a straight line.
From what we’ve seen there are three stages on the way to IT transformation: 1. IT efficiency, 2. Growth enablement and 3. Business Innovation.
Let’s review each one briefly.
Despite the rosy goals to become digitally innovative and nimble enterprises, most IT budgets have barely grown, or are staying the same. It seems that only the usual suspects, the traditional market leaders, seem to have the allocations to fund their innovation.
But most enterprises have allocated between 80 - 85% of their budgets just to keep the lights on. How can a company innovate with numbers like these?
Time to cut the cost of keeping the lights on.
Keeping the lights on shouldn’t consume as much as 85% of your budget. Even if you feel you’re cutting costs, there may be areas you aren’t even aware of where you can still cut costs. Conduct a thorough audit of your current IT environment and identify areas where you can immediately have an impact.
The holy grail for today’s CIO is digital innovation as business innovation. This is the exciting part of being an IT leader in 2014 and beyond. But proceed with caution.
This is far from an exhaustive list of the challenges you’ll have to overcome to be truly innovative. But performing an internal assessment to determine where your current people, processes and technology can help or hinder your drive to digital innovation is the best place to start.
Now that you’ve turned your company into a well-oiled machine by making your IT department more efficient, and you’ve reached your goal of becoming a digital innovator, your firm might experience fast growth.
But is your IT department in the best position to support that growth? Are your systems, processes and human resources ready for the growing needs of your company?
Creativity and resourcefulness can help you quickly build the technology infrastructure to keep up with – and enable – your fast growth, and can continue to help your business with the digital innovation goals you set for it in the 2nd stage.
If achieving digital innovation nirvana seems like a lot of work, it is. I don’t want to give you rose-colored glasses.
But to get from here to there isn’t complicated. Assess where you are right now, determine your gaps and resources, plan the path you’ll take considering your current situation, and execute.
In the next few posts we’ll cover each area in detail.