Innovation seems to be the buzzword of the moment. Not just because the stores are full of the most innovative, must-have gadgets for every occasion (check out the latest news coming out of Consumer Electronics Show 2012 for the lastest gadgets) but because business leaders are recognizing it as key to differentiating themselves and driving growth for their companies.
This is confirmed in a McKinsey & Company study last month (December 2011), A rising role for IT: McKinsey Global Survey results, which underscored the investments being made in IT to create innovation. As the summary states, executives expect IT investments to “create new platforms to support innovation and growth, help guide strategy with data and advanced analytics, and stay on top of possible new roles for mobile devices.”
But for today’s IT leaders to successfully achieve this lofty expectation by senior executives, it will require more than just technical skills. It will require business excellence to align innovation agendas to business priorities.
In November 2011, Forrester Research’s Nigel Fenwick wrote Three Ways to Becoming a Business Leader – one of which is for CIOs to influence business strategy and drive innovation. To Fenwick, innovation in this context is for CIOs to make technology a fundamental part of how the business operates alongside other business functions.
At Avanade, our vision is to be recognized as a global services innovator. What does that mean to be a services innovator? We completed a study with Forrester in February 2011 on how IT decision makers were defining innovation from services providers. Our findings complement McKinsey’s study and Fenwick’s piece. In short, organizations view innovation in terms of business performance – improve costs, service levels, efficiency and quality; lead business model change and use cloud services, analytics and mobility to help differentiate and create advantage; and turn technology output into business outcomes.
What I take from McKinsey’s study, Fenwick’s points and Avanade’s research are the following:
1. Executives see technology as an innovation enabler to business change and competitiveness.
2. CIOs need to focus on business results through technology to lead the innovation agenda that supports company objectives.
3. Cloud computing, analytics and mobility are top of mind innovative technologies driving business transformation.
The three trends outlined in No. 3 are playing a big role in shaping innovation within organizations, and we’re keeping our finger on pulse of views and perspectives of IT and business leaders to help them navigate and capitalize on these game-changing trends. You can learn more by visiting our Research and Insights regarding Cloud Computing, Big Data and mobility, especially in the context of the Consumerization of IT.