Tech-driven innovation is vastly different than how most firms operate today, but it will soon be table stakes in a fast-moving and uncompromising market
The success of a business is now in great part determined by its ability to exploit technology to its highest potential, reports Forrester.
This reality is bringing about a very different future for the IT organisation where technology-driven innovation will be a core competency.
In its latest report on ‘the changing role of IT’, Forrester points out technology-driven innovation is vastly different than how most firms operate today, but it will soon be “table stakes in a fast-moving and uncompromising market”.
This environment will underscore the importance of technology — and thus, IT, says Forrester, but will also call for an environment in which the boundaries between IT and the overall business will fade.
The report says the need to be customer-led will continue but powerful forces will compel IT to take on a bigger role. And this, it says, is to ensure technology creates new possibilities and capabilities that shape and guide strategy and operations.
Business leaders will move into an immersive partnership with IT, creating teams with members who bring IT technology skills and business instincts on capitalising on existing and emerging technologies.
Forrester says one of the main changes for IT is that that it will follow the path of matrixed shapeshifting organisations that form and morph based on changing priorities.
This means IT will not be a standalone functional organisation — nor will it be a fully decentralised competency that cascades expertise, capabilities, and tools into the broader organisation.
Instead, says Forrester, IT will be deeply federated with a central control framework.
The teams will be task-focused, not job-focused, says Forrester. They will have diverse skills, some owned and others on contract (part of the ‘gig economy’). They will form to work on a specific initiative and dissolve as those needs expire.
Many IT organisations will also set up emerging technology assessment capabilities that operate like a venture capitalist. They will be tasked, among others, with discovering, analysing, and recommending action for acquisitions, joint ventures and ecosystem partners.
As Sharyn Leaver, senior vice president of research at Forrester, notes in a podcast on the the future of IT, “If you are not investing in future technologies, you are automatically saying you are not caring about the future.”
The CIO, meanwhile, will shift from a support function to a central figure in what the company does; from caretaker to disruptor and technocrat to business visionary.
The CIO will be “the adult in the room” who has the necessary control frameworks to deal with data privacy, security, business continuity, the API and connectedness and cloud support required, says Craig Le Clair, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester.