Are IT Teams Relevant in an As-a-Service World?By Samuel Greengard
The road to enterprise innovation is always paved with good intentions. However, for many CIOs and their organizations, the compass too often points in the wrong direction.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the emerging as-a-service world. According to a recent Accenture study, IT Is Dead. Long Live IT!, six out of 10 respondents claim that IT does not have a significant influence on their choice of an as-a-service provider, with 77 percent stating that the IT organization lacks the skill sets for an as-a-service world. The research also found that 70 percent of business and IT leaders do not involve internal IT until after the as-a-service option has been selected.
This raises a key question: how relevant is IT in an as-a-service world brimming with cloud services that are available on demand, anytime and on any device?
"To traditionalists, the diminished influence of enterprise IT is a strange development, so what explains it? At many companies, IT is no longer seen as a provider of essential business outcomes, nor of innovation," wrote Mazen Baroudi and Matthew Taylor, co-authors of the report.
However, the authors point out that bypassing IT can put the organization at risk—particularly at a time when governance and risk management are critical. These can range from cost overruns and delayed delivery to security issues.
So, how can CIOs and other leaders address this challenge? Baroudi and Taylor suggest the following:
Self-test your IT organization. "Assess your IT organization and its performance as a service broker by asking questions in areas such as new feature availability, how quickly new services can be introduced, response time for resolving problems, how you are charging clients for products and services, and so forth," they wrote.
Adopt a startup mentality. "In an as-a-service environment, established enterprises should be adopting practices and modes of operation that enable them to act like a startup and move at the same speed -- while still leveraging their larger scale," they noted.
Don't let the old organization kill off the new one. Simply put: "Be a business enabler, not a blocker."
Act like an external service provider, not a monopoly. This means changing the way IT operates so that it views itself as an organization that competes with other cloud and service providers for the same capabilities and also enables those competitors wherever appropriate. The end game is delivering "value to the business with a governance model appropriate to the as-a-service era."