Information technology executives have a tendency to buy into--and subsequently overuse-- buzzwords and conventional wisdom. This group of leaders seems to have an affinity for adopting an almost group-speak when it comes to vocally deliberating what the organizations they lead will look like in 2015, not to mention their own roles.
So it came as no surprise that a number of prominent executives, consultants and experts evoked many old gems of IT management and the way it's changed in recent years. The subject of discussion: the future of IT organizations. The bulk of the discussion: how IT needs to become more business-savvy, more aligned with the business and more forward-looking in the way they operate.
Sound familiar? It should.
Sound like a tired argument? It shouldn't.
The problem with the current culture of business operations, specifically when it comes to the role of the IT organization, is that best practices barely exist. Sure, plenty of IT organizations have built notable track records of success, but they've done so in unique ways, varying across businesses of different sizes, mindsets and industries.
To find consensus on what the ever-changing--and downright thorny--role of IT organizations will be in the future is about as easy as agreeing on a college football champ. CIO Insight set out to do just that, and its efforts revealed the truly arduous challenges IT leaders face in adapting to the future needs of business.
A number of enormous, game-changing possibilities emerged from those discussions:
- Businesses and their IT departments have a decision to make: Will technology be a strategic driver or simply a utility?
- The majority of IT organizations may become centralized units, but global factors may force a level of decentralization.
- The advent and adoption of new and emerging technologies can cause an identity crisis for IT organizations. Will they make IT shops more integral to corporate operations, or will they minimize IT's importance?
- The CIO's role could change drastically, moving into more of a general business manager mold than one centered on technology.
Those possibilities point to the potential of a dramatic reshaping of the way IT is viewed and consumed within businesses. Navigating the twists and turns of what's to come is no easy task, but beyond all the challenges, plenty of opportunities exist for IT organizations to boost their capabilities and value to their companies.