New roles for IT Executives: Leaders

Escrito el 18 Noviembre 2005 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Telecom

As convergence is driving the need of collaboration for companies in different markets, executives need to learn new skills related not only to innovation and change, but also to the creation and deployment of new incentive systems attached to those concepts. Telecom, media and entertainment industries are matching and mixing their offers, creating new markets, and destroying others faster than ever.

In the same line, new software architectures, with Web Services and Service Oriented Architectures as leading players in everybody’s projects, are forcing a different understanding of the role that the IT department has to assume inside companies. There has been much discussion about what has been called “the new role of the CIO”. The truth is that we need a different set of skills for the IT department. With flexibility, collaboration and cost as key drivers for those departments for the next few years, performing supporting activities is no longer the key. The role now is to be part of the race. A race that means offering new services fast, adapting to what the customers are demanding and being able to structure them from the building blocks that several companies or business units can offer.

I have been hearing the question for the last two years. ¿Why SOA? ¿Why web services? The answer is clear, but not simple: they need a different approach to what IT does for many companies. They mean collaboration, not only with different companies, but also, and more important, within the company, to re-define processes and how they are built, and create a new role for the CIO and the IT department: being inside the business, enabling change and rapid reaction. This new role means creating opportunities for change from inside, from those evolving processes and its newly gained flexibility. The great difference is going to be in the way companies change their organizations to promote those new roles.

Although integration and collaboration are buzzwords right now, I firmly believe that they are also key concepts for the next years. At least in an industry that is trying to find new ways to offer services that we can only envision at this point. The ones we already now (like VoIP) are changing not only the business landscape but also how society interacts and grows.

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Luis 28 Noviembre 2005 - 17:44

In my opinion, mainly due to the commoditization of the IT (http://www.nicholasgcarr.com/articles/matter.html), the traditional role of IT executives is being splitted and spread out in several functions. The first split was when the technology-only function was spun-off to the CTO (you know that guy deciding what is going to be the next gadget for the executives of the company). Now CFO are taking another chunk from the pie, taking control of the purchasing responsabilities, what is the next?
I don’t know but for sure that it is the time for IT executives to look for new roles and position themselves as enablers of the company strategy. It is time of less techies and more business oriented IT executives.

Ricardo 29 Noviembre 2005 - 09:58

The issue is probably who takes responsability for what. Whith that I mean to point out the different options you have when you decide over outsourcing or writing your own code.
You need an imput in your decisions, the IT department, and a decision body. Probably the later is the board of directors, where no IT person shows up, ever. So the “new role” needs some support from the whole company to become a reality… and yes, probably the “less techies”, but only in the way they interact with other business units.

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