Having spent the years following the financial crisis aggressively focused on cost reduction, many IT organisations are now also focussed on helping their businesses deliver growth.\nAnd where they once operated as discrete, project-oriented technology providers, they are now adapting to support the increasingly complex shared services operations many global businesses have set up in order to centralise governance and control.\nMoreover, CIOs have been working to satisfy these demands while simultaneously adapting to disruptive technology trends such as cloud computing and mobile IT.\nAnd in amongst all this, they must be sufficiently innovative and agile to deliver growth-oriented services to more complicated businesses whose appetite to invest may change rapidly during this ongoing period of economic volatility.\nChanging IT\nAll this calls for a change:creating a global IT operating model capable of meeting these challenges. Getting there requires CIOs to take four key steps:\nEvolve the IT architecture.Research\u00a0 by Accenture shows that high-performance businesses are three times more likely to prioritise regular updates of their application architecture than other organisations.\n\nSuch architecture increasingly requires a diverse mix of software and service components, including open-source applications and cloud services, all of which must be integrated with legacy systems.\nTraditional approaches \u2013 consolidating around a single ERP system, for example \u2013 may not suffice. Instead, CIOs are developing solutions that offer scalability, flexibility and cost control.\nBuild flexibility into IT sourcing models. CIOs spent several years building sourcing partnerships with the primary aim of delivering operational efficiencies and cost savings. But these partnerships may not be able to drive innovation and growth.\n\nInstead, CIOs are becoming procurement experts capable of buying services from multiple vendors in order to access a range of skill sets and solutions. They are able to offer their businesses a catalogue of IT services from such vendors, as well as from in-house IT professionals, that can be delivered quickly when and where they are needed.\nThis requires IT organisations to develop new skills of their own \u2013 particularly around the management and co-ordination of third-party service providers.\nAdapt the IT workforce. Accenture\u2019s research shows high-performance businesses are seven times more likely than other IT organisations to have invested in the development of new technology skills.IT organisations have traditionally employed staff with specialised knowledge about the architecture in use within the business, but the emergence of new sourcing models that make greater use of third-party providers may have lead to skills shortages.\nCIOs are now making proactive choices about which competencies to build in-house. The IT workforce \u2013 and those who work with it \u2013 is acquiring skills that reflect the new operating models with which they are increasingly required to work.\n\nRun IT as a business.CIOs are changing too. Where once they ran IT organisations that supplied services to the rest of the business, they now work in close partnership with senior leadership.\n\nThey are learning to think like business leaders rather than service providers, becoming adept at making the case for the value IT can deliver, and teaching others how to capitalise on that growth potential. This often requires a new governance model, in order to ensure that IT organisations maximise returns on their investments \u2013 both internally and with third-party service providers.\nSeize the moment\nThis repositioning is likely to be challenging for many IT organizations, but now is the time to seize the opportunity. As businesses pivot from the gruelling cost focus of recent years towards a renewed quest for growth, CIOs are well placed to become important strategic partners who can take the lead in driving the business agenda.\nTo be successful, IT organisations will need to rethink their operating models, implementing a way of working that is global, diverse in its offering of services and skills, and, above all, adaptable.\nAbout the author:\nPaul Daugherty is Accenture\u2019s Chief Technology Officer and also serves as managing director of Accenture\u2019s Technology Strategy and Innovation group.\u00a0 Daugherty is responsible for the technology innovation and growth agenda.