Why a New Economics of IT demands innovation and efficiency

  • Posted on January 11, 2017


Working on your core at the gym is great — but if it’s all you do, you’re limiting what could be. You need the cardio, the weights, and the full-body routines to really unlock your true potential.  It’s the same idea for companies going digital.

As we’ve seen in the New Economics of IT blog series, businesses are using new technologies and methodologies to “strengthen their core IT” capabilities, leading to greater efficiency and agility. But a slimmed-down, more agile core IT is just one half of a very large, very exciting opportunity.

A newer element of the role of the IT leader is to drive new ideas, new business models and a competitive differentiation of their business in the market. This is why the third pillar of our New Economics of IT vision is to unlock the freedom to innovate.

For example, when Avanade teamed up with Accenture and Microsoft to help a global mining company achieve their “IT of the future” vision, making IT more efficient was just the beginning.

Freeport-McMoRan needed an easier way to migrate and manage dozens of applications across public and private clouds. But after bringing in a hybrid cloud solution, not only was the company able to more easily manage its existing assets – it gained valuable freedom to explore new and innovative approaches. The results? New value creation, new revenue streams, and staying ahead of the game.

The technology and methods to drive innovation overlap with those used to bring agility and efficiency. Liquid Applications utilizing agile & modern engineering methods, Connected Ecosystems and Intelligent Platforms are all necessary on both sides of the IT mandate.

But it’s the goal of innovation that is radically different. Here, IT becomes a central player in the future of the business. Not only does it strive to be more tuned-in to the needs and pains of end-users and consumers, but it also strives to be a trusted advisor to the business in how it can address those needs with the relevant technologies and strategies. Which admittedly is quite a leap, it’s one that can start with a few pragmatic steps:

Create a Culture of Innovation: This happens when stakeholders from all sides of the business, from marketing, to IT to the customers themselves, have a voice. IT can help establish this culture with Innovation Labs, showcasing and educating others on the art of the possible, cross-departmental committees to identify priorities and plan for change management.

Go Agile: IT leaders must help establish Agile practices, go to DevOps to speed and improve product development as well as embrace Design Thinking principles in order to create a working organism that will be able to execute on innovative ideas.

Be Business-focused: Where traditional IT was worried about “IT stuff” – technology, loosely stated – modern IT leaders are tasked with improving the way the business succeeds in serving its customers. IT should have a seat at the sales table, the board room, and so on, and should be deeply familiar with the needs, pains and dreams of the business as a whole.

While core IT is frequently the first improvement made in the modern digital world, it alone might not be enough to unlock your full potential in a changing market.

IT leaders must remember that with legacy IT efficiency, comes the ability to use that new time to focus on the bigger, aspirational needs of the business.

Read more about the New Economics of IT.

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