Why it’s time for IT to Stop being the Plumber?

Why it’s time for IT to Stop being the Plumber?

I believe we all agree that no one understands and fosters IT and its role in an organization better than Gartner’s analysts. In their position of predicting new trends and technologies in different markets, Gartner analysts are IT’s best friends, and all of their efforts are focused on supporting and strengthening them.

But in this year’s Application Strategies & Solutions Summit, Gartner analysts were being a bit more provocative with their audience. “Don’t be an IT plumber” analysts repeated time and again their motto; No more taking the support role in the background – IT must move to the foreground and innovate! And to make it even more simple- to stay relevant, IT must change!

#1 IT Must Become Relevant Again

CEOs continue to report that they expect double-digit revenue growth over the next 5 years —taking “Digital” through the tipping point. However, numbers show that organizations are spending less and less on IT. How can this be achieved with a shrinking budget?

The unfortunate truth is that in many cases, and specifically in digital projects, the money that is being taken out of the IT budget is actually being used for outsourced IT services.  

To regain its power and technology leadership position within the organization, IT and CIOs must flip from supporting a business to driving one — through disruption. IT will be disintermediated unless it gets in the face of those driving the change! Gartner predicts that by 2021 80% of digital leaders will grow their leadership and value through disruptive innovation at the expense of traditional tech spend. As digital phenomena rise, it won’t be enough to remain behind the scenes in a traditional support role, and IT leaders are encouraged to be prepared and shift from their passive support role to an innovative and disruptive one.

User experience (UX) is a CEO priority, and as such, CIOs must understand that it is ultimately IT’s priority too. While UX is no longer an afterthought, IT refrains from providing a consistent and engaging UX, losing yet another portion of its original budget. Gartner analysts urge IT leaders to take back the reins and learn from leaders who are instituting practices to address UX challenges. Among others, IT needs to become more aware of user-centered processes; data-driven design and design patterns, instrumentation and analytics; measurable outcomes; and the inevitable combinations of designers and developers.

#2 Deliver Great Experiences for the Benefit of the Business

Customer Experience is no longer just design issues – it has a huge impact an organization’s business; a bad user experience causes 1. confusion (different user interfaces, inconsistent processes, different answers, conflicting information, and messages); 2. Irritation (dropped when transferred, lack of recognition and repetition of security and/or explanation of the problem in a new channel, lack of process support for preferred channel type, forced to switch from one channel to another). It is 3. costly (time and resources wasted on the wrong channel), and 4. it can negatively impact revenue, when cross-sell and upsell opportunities are wasted.

To succeed in leading this mission, IT executives must work hand in hand with digital business leaders, and those in charge of customer and employee engagement strategies. IT can lead this revolution by creating an appropriate governance structure, processes, and teams; by utilizing existing tools and technologies for creating digital experiences. They must determine the gaps in skills and tools, and highlight the best approach for improving the customer experience, employ the strategy, and not stifle innovative edge technologies.

#3 Staying Cool, Being Agile

Can you follow a lean, experimental process while maintaining a well-defined infrastructure? Gartner calls this a “Staying Cool, Being Agile” approach or its formal name, “Bimodal IT”. Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. The first mode is reliable, accurate, for applications that require established foundations and regimented processes. In this mode, projects will be handled using internal sourcing. Mode 2 is experimental, agile and will be used for emerging technologies that require a nonlinear process. Mode 2 projects can be handled by internal sourcing, as well as by what Gartner calls, “citizen developers” or developers outside of IT which can either be fully outsourced or Line of Business (LOB) developers.

IT organizations will continue to focus on maintenance but they must find a way to introduce disruption and innovation, in order to be aligned with the business’s goals. Adopting Mode 2 techniques and state of mind (fail fast) in order to foster innovation is ITs main challenge today, and it will determine its role in an organization in the future.

#4 “In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.”

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum

As simple as that, be fast or dead…. Even if it looks like mission impossible when you are constantly focusing on maintaining your existing legacy system, being fast is crucial in today’s new world. Whether you are a big or small organization, your success is dependent on how well you adapt, maneuver and navigate your organization in the stormy ocean of innovation.

#5 How Zuznow is Helping IT Executives to become Leaders

Over the last 4 years I have met with almost a hundred of IT executives and managers and learned about their challenges in promoting innovation while keeping their daily tasks. This is also where I learned that innovation will (mostly) come from outside of the traditional enterprise echo-system, and is what makes startup-enterprise relationships a perfect match.  

By leveraging our ever-expanding product, our customers were able to find themselves at the forefront of technology (mobile apps, mobile-web, virtual-assistants, wearable, metro-design and more) dealing with the user experience and customer experience with minimal investment and resources, while keeping guard on their core mode 1 responsibilities.

Many startups offer other types of innovation and can become the IT’s best resources for innovation. It is now only the IT executive’s role to pick up the opportunities.

I’ll be happy to continue the conversation in person, so please feel free to reach out to me.