Managing IT in a disruptive world
over 1 year ago 0 Comments
It's a challenging time for CIOs and IT managers. What has been labelled a perfect storm of disruptive technologies: virtualisation, cloud computing, social media, and mobile technologies is creating disruption within organisations which somehow the IT manager has to pilot his or her way through. The problem is, as one blog put it this week, "the velocity of change is so fast that uncharted risks make navigating today’s IT environment more challenging than ever."
What is happening it that the CIO’s role has evolved from providing tactical support for the business to becoming a strategic partner, and so aligning IT’s priorities to those of the business is of paramount importance. At the same time, the CIO must turn information into insight when the business is seeking to implement new technology solutions to achieve competitive advantage. At the same time, and often this seems the most difficult, the CIO must speak the business's language.
This swift introduction of disruptive technology is already changing how organisations go to market with products and services and interact with their customers through social media. Meanwhile, this disruption is also creating risks or challenges that IT managers must address, including choosing, vetting and managing vendors. The number of IT vendors that the organisation can use is growing, and yet the size of many of these providers is small. Despite developing innovative technologies, perhaps for the Cloud, or dealing with what has been labelled 'big data', many do not have a long business track record. Or even a long existence.
So an IT manager must ask themselves whether that vendor will still be here in five years time? Will they have been bought by another company? Can they meet their service level agreements? Will they safeguard the organisation's data? If not, could that affect business continuity? Or even its survival? If your data retention requirements stipulate that your data has to be held for seven years, for regulatory reasons, will that small vendor still be around in seven year's time? If not, does that mean you need to use a bigger vendor - who may not be quite as flexible?
The pace at which technology is changing is unlikely to slow down. So, to be successful, CIOs must establish a robust set of processes and controls that can effectively manage the new risks that new technologies bring.
This means a CIO or IT manager must swiftly gain an understanding of the changing demands from the business, picture the technologies that are likely to make the greatest impact, and then implement them, while at the same time, knowing the vendor landscape within their organisation.
It's a challenge many CIOs and IT managers are now facing upto - with various degrees of success. And it's something I will be examining in detail over the coming weeks.