Modern IT: From 3 Small “s” to Three Big “S”

Saturday, July 21, 2012 | comments

Modern IT is pervasive, permeating into everywhere in contemporary business today, however, IT’s “mindset” hasn’t completely shifted from controller into enabler, from infrastructure into innovation, from back officer into brain yard yet, there’re both crucial points and s-curves on the journey, IT do need overcome some small “s’, and embrace a few big S in transformation.

1. From Scarce, Shadow IT into Spectrum of IT Service with Sunshine:

When enterprise IT still acts as controller only,  think IT is scarce, while the world of clouds, SAAS services, consumerization of IT focus on technology abundance, and maximize its value and reward, then shadow IT crops up: it means the business department started bypassing IT for purchasing SAAS base applications on their own; on one hand, such circumstances are understandable, as business compete with agility, the speed of application solution can accelerate business growth; on the other hand, IT also has enough good reasons to control it: as IT infrastructure cost fortune, broke easily, shadow IT will cause risk/security loopholes to the business in the long term.

Therefore, IT need get fellow business peers’ support,  transform shadow IT into full spectrum of IT services, by building a rich ecosystem of services atop infrastructure -in both public and private cloud environments through integration and GRC management discipline, also well manage business-IT-Vendor trilogy in order to gain purchasing power for negotiation or reducing process redundancy.

IT Spectrum also means to inspire spectrum of collective wisdom, spectrum of color in leadership, culture and change management.

2. From Shallow IT to Strategic IT

 Shallow IT means, at many of times, IT only provides band-aid, temporary fixing or ineffective communication with business:

  • Focus on Symptom than Root Cause: IT continues to play “firefighter’ role to fix infrastructural issues, without digging into enterprise architecture to trace the root cause or review IT roadmap to look for touch point or re-prioritizing investment portfolio based on business value;  

  • Inefficient 80/20 Rule: in order to transform from “shallow” IT: such as running IT for IT’s sake into Strategic IT: every IT project is business project, IT need refine new 80/20 principle, to ensure most of budget and resources have been used for business growth/innovation driven projects.  

  • Finger-Pointing Attitude: the other symptom for IT, actually for an unhealthy company, is that when something goes wrong, the top priority is figuring out whose fault it is, and finger-pointing with each other, fixing actual problems comes much later. Or business may complaint about IT’s arrogance as it speaks its own language which business doesn’t understand and get lost in translation;

Strategic IT means IT need be more business focus with problem solving attitude; well articulate what business need, and bring better and faster solutions.

3. From Silo IT to Significant IT:

Low mature IT runs as a back office,  silo function, with bottom up, controller’s mindset, and traditional change-adverse attitude, because change may lead to problems or downtime, that’s why it’s avoided;  modern CIO need take IT to the next level: it’s about cross-functional collaboration, with more wildly and deeply touch with business,  to deal with 3Cs: change/complexity/compliance, to fill out service gap, not just focus on time and on schedule, but also on value—to make sure business value has been created.

Significant IT also means IT takes unique position to oversight business capabilities via overarching enterprise architecture, take charge of over-abundance of enterprise data management. That said, IT need be cautious, but not overcautious, in order to capture the business opportunities, but also manage risk more seamlessly.

The significant IT becomes business driver for transformation, as at today’s hyper-connected, data-driven business dynamic, there’s no shortage of problems to tackle, it just requires more learning agile attitude, effective solutions with choices, and ambidextrous IT capabilities to build up high performance business
Hopefully, IT can become less shadow, shallow and silo, gain with three new Big S capabilities: Spectrum, Strategy and Significance, in order for business transforming from good to great and built to last. 

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