There is a not so fun debate going on amongst senior technology people whether it be
or other experts (let’s not debate the definition of expert here) are how long does IT have to exist in most businesses. Is it 5 years,
15 – who knows.
So, this debate where many of my colleagues could potentially be seeking new careers if the predictions come true. That is the not so fun part. As one who decided to transition out of IT leadership to get refresh of my perspective and education these articles, studies and pundits started me thinking.
If I find that really cool CIO/VP of IT role and in a perfect world could have total say on how technology would work in a company, no constraints (time, money, politics) how would I design an IT team, strategy and changes to the overall company structure and strategy. As this is a blog and not a book, I am not going to dig deep, but a few things came mind.
Some quick hits.
1. no data center – yep, I don’t have a power generator out back (well a back up maybe) so let’s get past the need for a DC. Yes, there are concerns about protecting your data. So, let me ask this question – your business as cash flow right, ready cash? Do you keep that in a room in your building somewhere?
So you trust, say this again TRUST, an organization hold your cash for you and heck they even hold other peoples cash for them and they only distinguish your cash from the other people with a record that you have a department, aka Finance, that reconciles each month to make sure it is accurately held for you.
So data cannot be the same way. Hmmm.
2. Experimentation with new technology and processes will be extremely high to provide us the opportunity to create competitive leverage and differentiation. Roll the dice all the time.
That means use the information part of IT, aka data, in unproven/proven ways to deliver to our clients – the lines of business as well as ourselves. Yes, creating business user friendly data access from all your data sources with the goal of improving the capability of line of business clients in using the data regardless of tool they use to do so.
Even, yes even Excel, though Excel truly is a crutch to businesses everywhere.
3. Last quick hit is like lean manufacturing, six sigma, or whatever continuous improvement program you like or is the diet fad of the year a relentless focus on process improvement.
I often use the analogy that if you go out to your car in the morning to go to work and see one of your tires is low on air. You might drive to a gas station, fill it up with air and go to work. When you get out of work the tire still has air so you drive home. The next morning you notice the same tire is low on air again. Would you drive to the same gas station and fill it up with air again and the next day and the next without every fixing it. NO.
So, why do we let by my estimate half of all business processes have low air in them and let our employees work harder than they have to with bandaids (putting air in the tire each day) to just get their work done?
You have hundreds of processes which are low on air in your business. I would make it IT’s mission to have all processes measured for efficiency and effectiveness on corporate strategy and customer impact. Only the lowest ones would ever be considered to let be inefficient, but never ineffective.
There are other things, but those would be my top three to tackle. The first being the data center, because that would free up my staff and budget to be more aggressive on the other two.