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IT Takes a Seat at the Business Table

April 14, 2014 - 4 Comments

As we move ahead in this Internet of Everything era, we’re sure to see more connections and integration—and that’s why technology professionals have to work to understand the big picture, moving out of IT silos and taking an end-to-end business view—with a services bent. The point’s well made in a recent Gartner Insight on the importance of aligning IT strategies with business goals to “remain relevant beyond 2020”:

IT leaders, often operating in “firefighting mode,” fail to look beyond the next task to understand IT service costs or the impact IT has on the business. IT organizations need to develop a service-provider mindset to align IT goals with those of the business
and to be relevant into the next decade.

Gartner analysts Robert Naegle and Jim McGittigan go on to note that tech-centric organizations must move to a services mindset, from supply driven, functionally aligned, and technically siloed to demand driven, customer centric, service obsessed, and process based.

Nicolas Jacques of the Open Daylight Project brings the point home with a positive outlook, as heard in this recording of the “Business Implications of Software-Defined Networking panel discussion at Cisco Live Milan in January.

The old world of “I can solve the problem in my own silo” … just doesn’t fly for most customers … and so what’s great to see in terms of that is the entire industry coming together and saying, “We are going to explore a new way.”

Fast IT infographic_Lance Perry blog

This is where a unified-architecture process steps in—the next logical evolution of the IT journey— providing a consistent methodology that’s embedded into the IT operating model over time. With a unified architecture comes synergies that promote holistic, consistent engagement between IT and the business, including sales, services, and engineering. When IT moves out of the silo and aligns with the business, critical pipelines form between groups.  For example, a pipeline between IT and engineering means that customer needs can be communicated to developers, and, in turn, development can position solutions to meet customer needs. This type of connection fosters higher quality, faster speed to adoption, easier integration, a better user experience, and lower TCO. These benefits together translate to a major competitive advantage, which, of course, is good for business—and what’s good for business is good for IT.

It’s already 2014, with 2020 just around the corner. As an IT leader, it’s time to take your seat at the business table—you’ll get a much better view than you’ll ever see from the silo.

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  1. We certainly live in interesting times where entire industries can transform in just a few years. In many cases industry transformation is caused by some sort of technological change. Some examples? Video rentals (Blockbuster / Netflix), Books (Borders / Amazon), Mobile Phones (Blackberry / Apple). It is critical IT departments adapt to the changing needs of the business. This is why cloud technology should be embraced. It helps enable flexibility, scalability, as well as reduce over costs.

    • and I thought tech was moving fast from mainframe to mid/then mini then PC. Looking back now we moved at the speed of glaciers (pre global warming). Things move at a very quick pace. IT needs to lead or get left behind.

  2. Lance, you said “As an IT leader, it’s time to take your seat at the business table…”

    For many CIOs that moved up the ranks of IT organizations that pride themselves on performance metrics that measure system up-time and availability, talking the language of business is a goal (aspiration) they hope to achieve — some time in the foreseeable future.

    But there’s a good reason why most cloud services are being procured by Line-of-Business leaders. These executives can’t wait for the legacy CIO and IT manager to make the transition.

    My point: earning a seat at the table requires more than a desire to evolve up the value-chain — you also need appropriate skills.