Is Traditional IT Still Relevant?

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Traditionally, IT organizations have provided infrastructure and basic support to the business as a monopoly.  We used to think of (and deliver) projects in ERP terms with complex, multiyear investments.  And, the business had little choice, but to work with us regardless of how long it would take or what it would cost.   Those days are slowly disappearing as times and technologies are changing.

Today, the users of IT – the information generation – want the convenience and near instant gratification they can get elsewhere through mobility, cloud applications, software as a service and shadow IT investments.  Consequently, CIOs and IT professionals must evolve how we run IT as a business to maintain our relevance.

Last month at EMC World, Joe Tucci said we must transform IT to lower costs for our existing applications and infrastructure while dramatically improving innovation, performance and reliability.  Sure, we can implement new technologies and automate and digitize business processes, but it is also critically important to strengthen our partnership with our business clients to deliver or broker contemporary IT services that unlock value.

I am not alone in this view. It has been a common topic with my peers at a number of recent EMC and industry events. Here are just a few thoughts to consider as we redefine IT for the future.

  1. We must evolve from a commodity IT provider to a strategic partner for our business. Case in point, as CIO of a Fortune 500 company I don’t look for technology vendors.  I look for a partner that understands and helps me achieve my objectives by proactively recommending solutions.  Our internal clients want the same thing from us.
  2. We must change the conversation from technology speeds, feeds and features to the strategic value they will gain as a result of working with us. At EMC, we recently realigned our senior IT leaders to improve partnering with our line of business leadership.  While it is still early, this is a major step towards delivering a more contemporary IT experience for our users.
  3. We must make it easier for our clients to do business with IT. For years, we added processes, bureaucracy and budget complexity that erased our agility. As a result, to remain relevant, we now have to ask ourselves, “how can we simplify, digitize and automate our processes to deliver transparent, innovative solutions faster?”

That said, transformations are never easy.  To evolve with the times and become a more client-centric, business savvy IT organization, we need to question all aspects of our technology, people and processes.  Are we continually evaluating our stack to ensure we have the most reliable, highest performing infrastructure? Are our people enabled and empowered to consult, build and sell services that deliver value for the business?  And, are we the change agents leading the charge in how we eliminate process complexity and bureaucracy using digitization and automation?   Without a doubt, refining and redefining IT is a priority for CIOs to continue helping our business to grow and prosper.  

How are you evolving and enhancing your technology, people and processes to deliver a contemporary IT experience?

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