By Charles Araujo
The shift in power to the customer represents the dawning of a new era in IT organizations. Call it the Quantum Age of IT. It involves a shift in focus away from a monolithic IT organization that “owns” its technology to one that is purpose-built to deliver value as either a strategic sourcer or a strategic innovator. It will result in both the explosive application of technologies that drive innovation and a highly optimized approach to the delivery of IT services. And it will require an unrelenting focus on the customer and the constant retuning of the IT organization to deliver meaningful value.
“I learned to design everything from the customer perspective,” says Bill Wray, CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island. “It is like storming the beaches of Normandy without disturbing the people getting a tan on the beach.”
In the Quantum Age of IT, the customer is at the center of everything–finally. The focus will no longer be on “owning” technology, but on creating a highly optimized delivery model that provides the greatest value to the customer. It will be about moving away from a focus on technology itself to a focus on a set of five organizational traits that will enable IT to consistently and reliably deliver both explosive and optimized value.
The Quantum Age of IT will be a time of great change and disruption as the fundamental delivery models of IT shift. But like Thomas Edison before us, for those who see what is to come and seize it, it is a time of great opportunity.
When Joel Manfredo joined the County of Orange, Calif., as CTO, he found a lot of good people–and a chaotic mess. There were 77 active projects and no priorities. “It was like 5-year-old soccer,” he says. “Everyone chased the last ball.” His job was to create order out of the chaos–and to begin the journey of taking the County of Orange into the Quantum Age of IT.
Manfredo instinctively knew his first priority was to change the perspectives of his team. “People are constrained in their thought by their experience,” Manfredo says. “If they haven’t done it before, it doesn’t exist.” There was a prevailing sense among the team that Manfredo’s efforts were just another thing that would eventually pass without having any meaningful impact.
Manfredo began by focusing on a set of tactical activities that would produce an immediate, positive improvement in service. But his focus was less on the activities themselves and more on teaching his team to expect that change was possible, to embrace change and to understand how to continually pursue improvement. Whether his team knew it or not, Manfredo was creating a “learning organization” out of the chaos he inherited–and laying the groundwork for taking his organization into the Quantum Age of IT.
About the Author
Charles Araujo is the founder and CEO of The IT Transformation Institute. He is a leader and expert in the areas of IT transformation and IT organizational change, and serves on the boards of itSMF USA and The Executive Next Practices Institute. He frequently speaks on a wide range of subjects related to his vision of the future of IT.