Progressive Business Technology Adoption Trends
Business leaders are still upbeat about the benefits of technology adoption. It's key to their market penetration, central to competitive differentiation, and vital to their supply chain and distribution strategies.
However, according to Forrester Research, they are less than satisfied with their own IT organization's contributions. In fact, reducing the cost of operations is believed to be one of the few attributes where expectations are aligned.
Members of the Forrester Leadership Boards (FLB) CIO Group recently discussed this challenge. Forrester presented results from their business technology survey of 600 executive leaders.
The study uncovered the following significant gaps:
IT teams rarely are aligned around key business priorities. When asked to rank business drivers by their importance to the firm's technology strategies, business executives identified customers, productivity, and costs as the most important themes.
But, when asked to rate their IT organization effectiveness, there was a wide gap between critical business drivers and the perception of IT's focus -- even in the key areas of cost reduction and workforce productivity.
Business executives consider several sourcing alternatives to fulfill the IT requirements of their enterprise. When asked to rate sources of technology solutions, leaders continue to rank their IT organization as a primary source.
However, they also referred to a wide range of other viable sources -- from their own staff, consulting firms, as well as out-tasked subscription-based managed service offerings.
Proven Strategies for Success
CIO Group members noted that these survey results accurately reflect the overall situation for IT organizations today -- an unfortunate scenario where many CIOs typically spend considerable effort.
These CIO Group members have adopted best practices for IT-business alignment ahead of the general population. Almost all have dedicated relationship managers, as opposed to only 37 percent of surveyed IT organization. All have a PMO dedicated to IT governance, whereas only 47 percent of the typical firms do.
Proven strategies to integrate business and IT include: formalizing IT's role in the overall planning process; formalize, embed, and expand the role of relationship managers; embed IT skills within business organizations; create centers of excellence for business change skills; and, separate business enablement functions from IT delivery and operations.
End of the Do-it-Yourself Era
Forrester concludes, the era where IT said "we can do it all for you" is no longer viable. Business executives see IT inflexibility as a detriment to their agility. They're aware that internal IT is but one of many options.
Therefore, CIOs who insist that their role is the "sole source for technology solutions" will be marginalized. The savvy IT managers have embraced a coexistence scenario, where selective out-tasking is a welcomed addition to their solution portfolio.