by Peter Bendor-Samuel

5 moves to make your IT group more responsive to business demands

Jan 15, 2016
CIOIT LeadershipIT Strategy

How to get rid of stop signs hindering IT success in 2016

Credit: Thinkstock

There’s no denying the stakes have been raised for CIOs and IT groups. As I’ve previously blogged, speed is the new currency, and the ability to quickly respond to the business users’ requirements is paramount. Here are five actions you can take to turn your IT group into a powerhouse with great potential for success in meeting business demands in 2016.

1. Look for the integrated services play

An example is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering where you get the infrastructure, software and productivity tools all in the same platform. Integrated services will allow you to enforce standards, reduce costs and increase speed.

2. Establish a new strategic intent around the end-user experience

This requires that you lay aside the functional orientation of your IT services and, instead, organize and manage IT by service lines (services required by the business) instead of functions (infrastructure, security, servers, application development, etc.). Look for opportunities to do this on an end-to-end basis.

3. Reorganize your IT group into cross-functional teams

Specifically, cross-functional teams that cut across different disciplines such as maintenance, development or operations and are structured along service lines. Make the teams accountable for achieving the end users’ business value.  Establish their business objectives and allow them to operate in a cross-functional manner. It’s also important to adjust your organization so the cross-functional teams don’t get mired in endless committees.

4. Invest in the appropriate technologies to support the cross-functional teams

Pay down the technical debt on the legacy side, which allows you to either automate and software-define that world. This isn’t about moving everything into cloud. It may mean creating API wrappers around legacy apps that can’t or shouldn’t be moved. It may mean investing in the right set of technologies to operate, test, provision and monitor and operate those environments. Invest to get there. Pay down your technical debt.

5. Consider renting

Cloud makes many promises. One promise is that it helps us become more agile in our IT, that is responsive and quick to change behavior. But underlying that is the concept of moving from an owner mentality to that of a renter. Cloud (or renting tech) avoids much of the technical debt organizations incur when they own technology.   

When you evaluate moving to cloud technologies, don’t just look at the cost to operate when owning the technology versus the cost when renting. Instead, start the decision process with understanding the speed – how much faster the cloud will allow you to respond to the business demands. In doing that, you’ll not only delight the business but also spend much less money because speed kills cost.

I feel the need for speed.