CIO Development

Blog Digital Academy in-house

Our work to help in fast-tracking corporate IT executives through the digital leadership learning curve has proved a great success. We are now half way through our third cohort; involving over 60 corporate IT execs from across several sectors. Feedback is strong, with these IT leaders reporting that they are now more knowledgeable, far more confident and far better prepared to lead in this emergent digital era.

All this has been achieved via our Open Academy Programme. We are now ready to bring the modules in company, which means we can tailor them and deliver to your specific circumstances and needs. This can also include a session for board level executives and key stakeholders who know very little about any kind of technology and may be worryingly misguided about what digital technology can achieve, how quickly and how cheaply.
The major short-term corporate win, of course, is how expeditiously you can get your exciting new front-end agility working effectively with your heavy-duty, industrial strength back-end generations of sunk-investment.

With this in mind we asked one of our Digital Academy speakers for some words on the case for change in IT. This is what he, namely Ian Cox, replied with. we think it’s excellent:

“Corporate IT is being disrupted. Technologies such as social, mobile and cloud have changed how consumers and businesses are using technology. They are also placing new demands on the IT function; technology is now more accessible to non-IT staff, awareness and knowledge of its application within the enterprise has never been higher and, as a result, neither have expectations about what can be achieved in terms of functionality and speed of delivery.

The digital business has to be agile; it needs to be able to respond quickly to changing market conditions, customer preferences or competitor activity. But the traditional IT function is not set up to be agile; it is weighed down by the baggage it has collected over the past 20-30 years when technologies such as social, mobile and cloud did not even exist and when the rest of the business had different needs and expectations of its IT team.

As a result, there is now a significant gap between the capability of the IT function and the expectations of the rest of the business. This gap, which has existed for a number of years, is getting wider and is being filled by shadow IT and by vendors dealing directly with other business functions and hence bypassing the CIO and the IT function.

There is no shortage of evidence that the gap exists; an increasing number of non-IT executives are expressing a desire to work directly with technology vendors as they are frustrated with the inflexible and slow response of their IT function. There are frequent reports about the growth of technology spending outside of the IT function with some analysts predicting that other functions will eventually outspend the IT function. And C-suite surveys have revealed decreasing confidence in IT’s ability to support the creation of new products and enable the business to enter new markets.

Digital markets move quickly, they are more dynamic than traditional markets and they can be disrupted more easily. To survive and succeed in the digital world, businesses need to be able to respond quickly and easily to changing market conditions, customer preferences or competitor activity. They cannot wait months for the IT function to catch-up; where IT projects used to take months, they now need to take weeks.

The rest of the business can see that there is a gap and it also knows that time is running out to close it. But this modernisation has to be more than just another iteration of the IT operating model. As corporate history has shown us, the only way to survive disruption is to reinvent the business. Companies that do nothing when their markets are being disrupted, and those that make only minor changes to their business model, rarely survive for long.

To survive the disruption it is facing, IT needs to reinvent itself. IT needs a new model, one that is radical and disruptive. And this new model has to cover all aspects of the organisation’s IT capability. To be a sustainable digital business, organisations need the right type of CIO, the right type of IT function and the right platform. And they also need the right approach and knowledge at both board level and across the wider organisation.”

If you are interested in knowing more about the in-company Academy option, or if you would merely like to send a couple of your team onto the next open-academy, please contact us.