System and mindset reset, part 4
September 6, 2018
In most of my projects so far, I’ve reported to the CIO. CIOs are the people paying my fees out of their budgets, and they act as important counterparties and sponsors during the project. Managing an IT project effectively without full and enthusiastic CIO support is near impossible. Yet, we need to think the unthinkable and consider a future where CIO as a role and ICT department as a function no longer exist.
The traditional role of ICT will be fundamentally changed by cloud technology. Traditional infrastructure ICT will virtually disappear for most companies, as both server rooms and network capabilities reside in the cloud. Infra competencies will become concentrated in cloud service providers.
Moreover, considering the pace of change and the omnipresence of technology that digitalization both drives and requires, ICT can’t remain a separate function, providing services to business functions. The traditional setup creates unnecessary organization silos that slow work down. There is no longer time to separate technical development and business that uses the technology. Instead, technical capability must be built into all value streams, and technical and business experts brought so close that information flows without impediment.
In future, employees are likely to have both business and technical skills. For now, this kind of organization could for instance mean assigning a technical architect for each value stream, so that their organizational alignment would be within business, no longer in any ICT organization. This setup could be supported by a virtual technical architect team where the architects can align across value streams.
When all or most technical experts are assigned into value stream, the CIO itself will become irrelevant as a separate leadership role. The persons who currently act in these roles, however, will remain highly relevant. A critical need remains for deep technical skills on enterprise level, and for individuals who can direct high-level technology transformation – either as leaders within business, or in advisory roles.
In summary, we can envision a future where we will work directly with business that is enabled by deep technology skills rather than separate ICT departments.
What do you think? Do any of these challenges ring a bell for you? Or are you picking up different signals? Please let us know!
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