In an era of both increased sourcing and new technology proliferation, Enterprise IT organizations are deciding what skills they should and shouldn’t retain in-house. The future mission of Enterprise IT is clearly changing, but the nature of the change is not particularly well understood or articulated. Forbes recently published an article that discussed how disruptive forces, such as cloud computing, are influencing the role of CIOs.
It is evident that Enterprise IT is likely to change over the coming years, but what do these changes mean to the skills, competencies and cultures that firms need to retain and develop?
We see four new models emerging to replace the way IT departments traditionally organized themselves:
1.) The Studio model. The metaphor is that of a Hollywood Studio where a variety of skills – directing, acting, cameras, sound, lighting, etc — are brought together in flexible, ever-changing teams to take on sophisticated projects. In this model, IT will be increasingly expected to work seamlessly with scientists, engineers, marketing professionals and others to deliver projects of high strategic value to the business.
2.) The DIY model. This metaphor comes from stores such as Home Depot in the US or B&Q in the UK. These stores provide a huge range of goods (like the IT marketplace itself), but a key part of their value proposition is their knowledgeable staff who provide “free” information and advice. Analogously, many employees and departments will increasingly do their own IT, but will occasionally need expert support.
3.) The Process model. No one understands the details of many key business processes better than Enterprise IT. In most cases, it is the underlying sequence of information processing steps that defines how a business process actually works. Increasingly, IT will take responsibility, and even ownership, of end-to- end business processes, greatly strengthening the CIO/COO relationship.
4.) The Stewardship model. The word, steward, has many connotations, but we particularly like its root meaning as a “keeper.” In the past, this role has been largely focused on information security and associated risks, but going forward, it will expand to include issues such as information architecture and master data management, especially in firms that seek to be information and data-driven.
The opportunities in information technology have never been greater, but only for those organizations that embrace a much more front-of-the-firm future. Read more about the changing nature of business in our Future of Retained IT report.