A CIO recently shared a story about a conversation between him and his CEO, which, for me, perfectly sums up the challenge IT departments are facing today. The conversation started with the CEO stating that ‘all things digital’ was his biggest priority for the next four years, to which the CIO posed a question: “what does that look like?”
The CEO took a few seconds, then responded: “Well, I don’t know exactly, but there are three things I want to do. Firstly, I have some broad ideas about how I want to use technology to broaden and extend our network, but I haven’t fully fleshed them out yet. Secondly, whatever we go live with, I want to get lots of real-time feedback so we can adapt and improve it. Thirdly, whatever we do, I want it to happen as quickly as possible.”
After recounting this story to me, the CIO whispered: “VK, this is the exact opposite of how my IT department is structured.”
The majority of business leaders – just like the CEO in the story above – understand the importance of agility to their organization’s success. Established companies are nervously looking over their shoulders at disruptive start-ups like Uber, Airbnb and Netflix who have turned their respective industries upside down with innovative business models and delivery platforms. They are also racing to serve a new, tech-savvy, mobile-first class of customer that expects their service to aggressively evolve and adapt to their individual needs.
IT departments acknowledge this changing tide too but are left with a challenging dilemma: how can we deliver the agility the business requires, with an IT department built for a different era?
Embracing cloud-based platforms that enable your service to change ‘on-the-fly’, is critical in today’s ‘always-on’ world. People will no longer tolerate a message that reads – ‘we apologize, our service is temporarily suspended for essential maintenance work’ – or shrug and smile at the Twitter ‘fail whale’. If you examine the Amazon.com website, you’ll see that even if a particular part of the web page is broken – say, the pricing for instance – the rest of the page still loads. Amazon has effectively eliminated the interdependency of each section of the website; a complex idea but with agility right at its heart.
Agility has moved from buzzword to business-critical, and an organization’s ability to constantly change quickly and decisively based on feedback, is almost as important as the changes it actually decides to make.
SVP – Head of Sales – Enterprise Cloud Services
For more articles on why platforms should be your top strategic priority, read our latest edition of Beyond the Buzz, your source for all trending innovation topics.