Technology organizations across many industries are choosing to leverage multi-speed IT operating models in order to continue to support critical IT investments while driving business innovation. This new multi-speed world certainly presents strategic opportunities particularly in enterprises which are dependent on existing ecosystems but want to shape the future at the same time. There are significant talent implications for CIOs in this new world and a thoughtful approach to shaping talent strategy and investments could mean the difference between success and failure of multi-speed IT.
Multi-speed is pushing the IT, business and supplier ecosystem to shift and redefine relationships in new ways. This presents four fundamental opportunities for CIOs to drive value from multi-speed environments through strategy talent activities.
1. Leverage legacy: Legacy seems to be a taboo world in the enterprise. While there are certainly economic and other challenges with older platforms – many of the these platforms continue to run the core business operations and present an opportunity to extract value from the ecosystem in terms of the data, skill sets and business-driven processes which are connected to them. Organizations that do actively seek to understand the depth of business and process insight that team members who manage, for example, mainframe platforms are losing the opportunity to reduce cost, better integrate with the business and migrate to newer platforms.
2. Bridge the gap: Many IT organizations have deep cross-business insight and context much of which can be held by senior technologists. Savvy technology executives will seek to provide an opportunity for these tenured, top performers to continue to grow and expand their career paths given their experience and contacts with the business. This approach can sustain value creation, provide a platform for upskilling and allow IT to remain interlinked with the business.
3. Collaborative innovation: Many companies are creating captives within their structure to allow innovative ideas to grow and flourish. Keeping people working on legacy platforms and innovation separated makes sense within the context of complex organizations that have challenges adapting to change; however, there are synergies that are lost by not pulling together a new generation of team members and seasoned, experienced executives and technologists. There is significant value and learning opportunity by infusing teams with diversity and, properly managed, can result in higher quality and more business-relevant results.
4. Define a sourcing strategy: Too many IT leaders are focused on a very limited sourcing strategy to address demand. There are many great options especially in a multi-speed world that were not available before. Organizations can explore internal and external crowdsourcing for both innovative and operational activities while also looking at the right mix of freelancers for very specialized needs (e.g. data science and analytics) and internal roles for longer-term, strategic investments and activities. Regardless of the alignment of activities to sourcing approach – the key is to have a stated strategy that is monitored and adjusted over time to gain competitive advantage through both laboring arbitrage and getting the best skills.
As more IT leaders adopt multi-speed approaches within the enterprise, properly aligning the talent strategy will not only be critical to drive and support the success of these new operating models but will also present a chance to gain an edge by taking a talent and people first approach. As existing and new team members become engaged and interlinked – the doors for success will continue to open further and the balancing act of legacy and innovation becomes more palatable.
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