Over the past 18 months, I’ve been observing how technology-driven business change is challenging our clients and how they’re responding.
I’ve come to the view that we’re now seeing an accelerating change in the way organisations are viewing the role and purpose of ICT in their business, and the demands this new thinking is placing upon CxOs, ICT management, service providers and technologists.
It’s increasingly clear that the dramatic rate of change has outstripped the capacity of many organisations to quickly respond to the opportunities this change presents.
In the past 18 months, many of our clients have been genuinely challenged by:
- emerging technologies such as software‑defined applications services, networks and storage (SDx)
- increasing demand for improvements in infrastructure resilience, as well as supporting management frameworks and leaner processes
- rapid service provisioning demands by business and the consequent service delivery responses, being driven by greater awareness of maturing orchestration and automation solutions
- revisiting of ICT strategies to enable more customer‑experience‑driven approaches and priorities
- a growing understanding of the role and importance of an effective digital strategy (how do we do business in this digital world?)
- imbalance between aspirations to be agile, innovative and disruptive, and a decision-making culture driven by a dominant risk management (safety first) mindset
- a mature CAPEX versus OPEX procurement debate replacing the traditional ‘asset ownership’ first approach
- the lack of global size and scale of Australian businesses and organisations (with only one or two possible exceptions), inhibiting the ability to make a sound business case and therefore to quickly exploit the opportunities made available with emerging technologies.
New technologies, provisioning, operating and funding models are driving (or at least enabling) a new business thinking, making it possible for CxOs to address this ‘new thinking’.
Here’s a summary of traditional ICT thinking versus how we need to think in the digital age:
|Traditional thinking||New thinking|
|Technologists need to understand my business and align ICT to my business.||We need to understand the technologists’ business and realign our business to optimise our digital engagement with our customers, partners and suppliers.|
|We must own, operate, and control the ICT environment to reduce risk.||We need secure services, at the lowest cost and with total flexibility to rapidly scale up, down or out, and generally we don’t need to (or prefer not to) own the underlying ICT assets.|
|We depend on the ICT technologists to provision new services and we need these services in a matter of months, not years.||We need the business manager to be able to enable new services on-demand and disable services no longer required rapidly, through user friendly means. We need these services provisioned and working in minutes, not hours, days or months.|
|The barriers to entry for new entrants are high and require high capital investment in information technology.||The barriers to entry are almost non-existent. New entrants are virtual and have no baggage.|
|We must improve our internal business processes to be more efficient.||We must optimise our business processes at the customer touchpoints to significantly improve the customer experience, so we can both gain and retain customers.|
|ICT change must be controlled and managed to reduce the risk of service disruption.||ICT change must be constant, allowing rapid, easy and non-disruptive service provisioning so we can keep up with our customers and our competitors. The traditional ICT change management approach is now a roadblock to responsive and critical business change.|
|We need to strictly follow our ICT service management processes to ensure we get it right to manage costs and risks.||We need speed: real-time, agile, responsive, on-demand and automated to keep up with our customers and match, if not beat our competitors.|
It’s clear (at least to me) that the future for both business and ICT professionals lies in the ‘new thinking’ column.
We may not like what we see but, as the saying goes, ‘it is what it is’.
The question is: how do we respond, as business managers, technologists and service providers?