Great technical advances and concepts. How do you keep up with them? And more importantly how do you know what is right and optimal for your business and organization culture? When I was in business school, my professor always use to draw a triangle to explain organization theories and how the balance is created by using a bridge between opposing forces. That analogy is a very relevant today as well.
Business models are changing very fast. Social media has completely changed how marketing strategies are formed. There is not one person who has ever heard of crowd sourcing who has not done so without spending a dime to make this change. Organizations (people) and cultures are still very slow to adopt these changes. The gap between changing business models and its existing organization is growing continuously. This is where today’s CIO has the opportunity to provide the right solutions to bridge this GAP – as shown in the illustration below.
Another common problem phased by business today is that consumer expectations are getting higher. Consumers are expecting more for less. Businesses thus have more pressure to improve the bottom line. Most businesses are either commoditized or on their way to be commoditized. So the only differentiator left is really the efficiency of the organization. CIOs have an important role to play in this scenario as well. The right IT solution can provide that differentiator. Wal-Mart’s inventory control system, for instance, provided the right differentiator for that particular organization. A differentiator in highly commoditized business is illustrated below:
This last example is for the businesses that are involved in highly innovative products. When a company launches a successful product which is innovative in market and meets a consumer need, it is challenging for businesses to keep the focus on innovation and not to get distracted by the “success pain.” IT has an important role to play here too in order to allow the organization (company) keep its focus on their mission while IT keeps the supporting processes running and to scale as business grows.
All three of these examples describe how IT must now focus on solving business problems. All too often I see IT starting with the solution without looking for the problem. This was true, during the Dotcom days and it is equally true in today’s Cloud Economy. I am very big on Cloud Services because I think the Cloud is truly going changing how we consume IT and communication services. However, CIOs still need to carefully evaluate the business’ fit into the Cloud. It is not easy to access and there is no one-size-fits-all formula or solution. Gartner has published many guidelines and best practices that are good references, but there is no substitute for one’s own due diligence and finding the specific answer. It’s your discrimination after all. I call this methodology “Right Size IT!”