By Charles Araujo
The IT we have known it for the past 45 years is dead and we are entering what is being called The Quantum Age of IT. It is an era in which the customer is in charge and in which IT organizations will become highly specialized to deliver value as either strategic sourcers or strategic innovators. It is a time of great disruption, but for those IT leaders who understand what is coming, it is also a time of great opportunity.
But merely being aware of what is coming is not enough. To survive and thrive in this new era, IT leaders at all levels of the organization must actively develop five new organizational traits that will define the Quantum IT organization. Each IT organization must become:
• A Learning Organization
• A Disciplined Organization
• A Transparent Organization
• An Intimate Organization
• A Dynamic Organization
These are not new ideas. In fact, many of them have been discussed for decades. And like County of Orange, Calif., CTO Joel Manfredo, many progressive IT leaders have begun embracing these concepts and applying them in their organizations. But what will set IT leaders apart in the coming era is the recognition that an explicit and holistic approach to developing all five of these organizational traits is required to transform into a Quantum IT organization.
Understanding the Five Traits
These five traits have little to do with technology. They are about creating an organization that thinks and operates differently from the way IT organizations have always operated. They are fundamentally about interactions and relationships. These five traits do not represent a new maturity model. You cannot pick and choose–you will need to develop all five traits to thrive in the Quantum Age.
While these are a bit of a hierarchy, you need to begin by understanding the meaning of these five traits.
The Learning Organization
The learning organization is one in which change is a constant, and delivery is always evolving to anticipate needs and proactively improve services. It is one in which every member of the organization takes personal accountability for improving service–every day. It is about being psychologically close enough to your customer that you have the opportunity to learn. As Bill Wray, CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, puts it, “You must be forward deployed. This job isn’t 90% people, it’s 98% people. IT people have not been able to or wanted to understand that.” Becoming a learning organization is about changing that.