Using Technology to Drive Business Innovation

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

Building an IT organization that supports innovation, agility and growth is essential, and the right framework can unleash opportunities for business success.

"We have an environment that allows people to be more productive using a variety of tools, technologies and systems," Sanchez points out. "We have knocked down silos and adopted a mindset that IT must exist with a deep connection, understanding and partnership with the business."

Embracing Digital

Tying together various applications, technologies and platforms is at the heart of digital transformation. A key to success, Capgemini's Bonnet says, is the ability to create a seamless fabric of systems that enable people to interact in the most efficient way possible.

"The process begins and ends with the ability to identify business problems and requirements and build out systems that enable these processes to occur as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible," he says. At the heart of the matter: cross-functional input and blowing up silos. "In many organizations, there needs to be an entirely different relationship between IT and business leaders," he adds.

But the challenges and opportunities don't stop there. Bonnet also believes that IT must introduce a "culture of experimentation" and "agility."

In the past, technology launches often took a "bet the ranch" approach. But that's not the case with digital technology. He says that "It's important to engage in agile development, experiment, test things out, see what's working and scale resources up and down very rapidly to deal with changes in the business, IT environment and marketplace."

Finally, Bonnet says that there's a need to take a "zero-basing" approach to business and IT. "It is important to think about what technology can do today and what potential it has," he explains, "rather than starting with existing systems and processes and attempting to adapt them to the digital enterprise."

Optimizing IT to fit the digital demands of the business also requires new capabilities and skill sets, Accenture's Sutcliff says. While the idea may not be novel, how organizations go about confronting change and addressing today's IT needs is lost on many executives and managers.

As mobility advances, social business evolves, the Internet of things (IoT) takes shape, big data and analytics advance, and connection points change, there is a pressing need for different types of analysts, data scientists and other professionals. In some cases, it's necessary to hire and develop skills in areas that extend beyond the bounds of traditional IT.

Make no mistake, the traditional approach to business and IT is changing—and thinking must change with it. "Custom code and packaged software are being replaced by customization, clouds and a more agile IT framework," Sutcliff points out. "We are moving to open-source libraries, cloud sourcing, collaboration technology, and augmented programming interfaces that create greater flexibility and new opportunities.

"IT is no longer in control of information technology, particularly as people bring their own devices into the workplace. It is a fundamentally different IT world."

This article was originally published on 2014-12-04

Samuel Greengard, a contributing writer for Baseline, writes about business, technology and other topics. His forthcoming book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press), will be released in the spring of 2015.

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