Like many complex problems there is no one right answer, however there are key principles that can be applied across the board:
- There is a necessity in IT to be up on IT of all types; from cloud to social media, not simply enterprise solutions. If IT is knowledgeable, then it is able to help drive the solution and define outcomes.
- Inertia and too much to do is not an acceptable out for not fully supporting the business with the effective use of technology. IT needs to recognize that piloting the new and untested is a way of preparing for tomorrow’s IT world
- Desire for stable operations alone does not qualify as a reason to preclude some risk taking and innovation. We are not advocating moving away from stable and secure IT systems, but merely encouraging the addition of innovation and creativity and that functions related to compliance, security and operational stability do not overwhelm the IT culture.
- Business led is acceptable. Many leading organizations encourage the business to experiment with IT, and as success and maturity happen, migrate the solutions to IT. For many in IT, this is a difficult concept that sets up dynamics of ownership and conflicts with architecture and standards. However, typically challenges are more related to turf wars, functions and relationships than conflicts with technology
- Ensure that the innovation side of the business keeps the operational side in the loop and as a partner, incorporating lessons learned and performing reality checks from an operational perspective. Budgets should include a thorough analysis of total cost of ownership; usually an area of conflict with IT operations as innovation programs frequently do a poor job of incorporating long term growth and trends in the underlying IT infrastructure.
Somehow we need to find time for our collective IT organization to stay knowledgeable and contemporary (many are, but through personal interest rather than well designed IT functions), and knowledge of the new should be much broader than simply the EA function.
In summary, the new, fast and agile is here to stay but legacy isn’t going away anytime soon. As IT professionals we need to live in both worlds and the greater our ability to drive cultures that can achieve the right balance, the more opportunity we will have to be an integral part of a single business entity. Augusto Perazzo is a consultant in PA Consulting Group’s IT Consulting practice. He has 16 years of extensive experience in managing IT organizations with a focus on process improvement programs, application development management, outsourcing and service management. Augusto has an MBA degree from USC Marshall School of Business and a Bachelors degree in Computer Science. He also holds ITIL, PMP and MCSD certifications.