Forging a Next‐Generation Strategy
For any Boardroom that has become used to talking about IT in terms of budgets, spending and delivery, consumerization and cloud do not make those conversations redundant, but they are no longer strategic.
Should IT leaders just stop talking about spending and delivery, and start talking about something else? That's unlikely to be a wise move, either practically or politically. Instead, they can use those previous‐generation conversations to facilitate executives' understanding of what they should really now be talking about. Turn a discussion about IT budgets into one that's about the economics of creating value from change, now that consumers have IT. Turn a conversation about IT architecture into scenarios for the future structure of your enterprise, and of the markets in which participates. Turn a discussion about IT delivery into one about the future of IT sourcing, and the IT suppliers' battles over the cloud.
With effective leadership from their IT specialists, executives will rapidly grasp the new conversation they need to be having. Many will find it more tangible, challenging and enjoyable than talking about IT itself.
For the CIO and IT leaders driving this conversation, there is a strategic choice to make before starting. Will a visible preference for talking about either consumerization or cloud help to reinforce their leadership credentials in the Boardroom? Is cloud the bigger strategic opportunity, or consumerization?
CIO: Consumerization is the Opportunity
Given the potential consequences of consumerization plus cloud, executives need to be primarily concerned with how changes in consumer behavior, using IT, could impact their strategies and business models. Changes in how IT is delivered are a significant part of the story, but that is not where the enterprise creates its value.
For many years, IT leaders have been looking for opportunities to drive the Boardroom conversation about IT to be about value rather than cost. With the consumerization of IT, consumers can create value for themselves and the enterprise, using technology that costs the enterprise nothing. Cloud computing, on the other hand, is about how IT is delivered, who pays and how much. For the IT leaders who want the Boardroom conversation to be about value rather than cost, consumerization is the opportunity.
And they need to make sure the Board knows that IT consumerization is about consumers and market ecosystems, not employees and internal processes. Because enterprise IT came before consumer IT, executives are used to thinking about IT in terms of their employees. While there are decisions to be made about what employees can do at work with consumer technologies, if that becomes the central focus of the conversation then the main strategic story is missing.
Whether today's IT leader's decide to focus more on consumerization or cloud, or both equally, there are some essential tools for success.
Essential Tools for Success
To guide executive discussions and decisions about the 'perfect storm' of consumerization plus cloud, there are three essential tools today's IT leaders needs.
The first of these is the enterprise's portfolio of investments in change. As events unfold in the market, new investments will be needed, and some existing ones may need to be redesigned or stopped. Changes that would have been a success had the market not evolved can become redundant or even damaging.
The second is a set of strategy scenarios that articulate alternative impacts of consumerization plus cloud. They need to consider the structure of each market your enterprise participates in, the structure of the enterprise itself, the business models that generate its value, and the economics of creating value from change.
The third tool is the strategy itself, articulated in whatever ways that executives can best understand and participate in ‐ the outcome it is promising to achieve, the principles its is founded upon and the main tactics for success. It's always worth remembering that, at its heart, every strategy is about a pattern of behavior. So, while IT leaders will find ways to express it with words, numbers, and pictures, the ultimate articulation of the strategy is the behavior of the IT leaders themselves.
When their are major inflections in the IT market, such as consumerization and cloud, executives can expect to see a radical change in their corporate strategy for IT, and in how their IT leaders behave. They need to know the potential consequences of the IT developments they read and hear about, and build them into their decisions and actions. Some of those consequences will be far‐reaching, uncomfortable and challenging. Executives will expect to see the IT leaders demonstrate both practical and political wisdom, to make sure the strategy succeeds.
The consequences of consumerization and cloud? The next generation of corporate strategy for IT, and the next generation of IT leadership.
This blog is reposted with permission from Chris Potts. To read his blogs, you can visit: http://www.dominicbarrow.com/home.html