Time has come for IT to jog for life

IT vendors have been cajoling CIOs for several years to get with the flexibility programme like it’s some keep-fit regimen akin to what doctors have been berating the over-indulgers of the region to do. Be lean, be mean, but above all else, be flexible has been the message from both the medical and IT communities.

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By  Colin Edwards Published  October 19, 2006

|~||~||~|IT vendors have been cajoling CIOs for several years to get with the flexibility programme like it’s some keep-fit regimen akin to what doctors have been berating the over-indulgers of the region to do. Be lean, be mean, but above all else, be flexible has been the message from both the medical and IT communities.

And while the message apparently has not got through to the overweight of the region judging by the outflow of medical reports on the increasing incidence of diabetes, the CIOs of the world have, in the main, got the message and are geared for change.

But if any CIO thinks that that is it, think again. Exercising is a life-long commitment that just gets harder as the years go by and so is the ability to change. So, if the past five years have been traumatic on the treadmill of change, the next five years are going to be more so.

It isn’t Arabian Computer News (ACN) that’s come to this conclusion. Once again, it’s Gartner that’s issuing the warning that when it comes to change, “you ain’t seen nothing yet”. One of the main messages to be communicated by John Mahoney, chief of research for IT Management at Gartner, at the research analyst’s Symposium/ITxpo 2006 in Cannes, France next month is that how organisations manage technology will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 15.

His view is that every IT organisation is on a road to inevitable transition. While this started in 2005, it will remain the organisations’ focal point for the next six years. A new organisation type is emerging, one that will see the role of IT move from a technology focus to an emphasis on business processes and relationships.

According to Mahoney, the CIO is going to have a heavy load on his shoulders. By 2012, IT contribution will be cited in the top three success factors by at least half of top-performing businesses; IT barriers will be cited in the top three failure factors by at least half of lowest performers. He sees the larger global enterprises dividing IT into at least two organisations by 2012, one working on sourcing and delivery of infrastructure, another on architecture and change.

But perhaps the greatest change is around what CIOs have talked about for some time, but not too many have realised – and that’s the need for more commercial, less technical skills in IT organisations.

If any current or aspiring CIO wants to plot a career path then he or she should undoubtedly be looking to augment their business skills. Gartner says that through 2011, IT organisations will suffer an imbalance: too few business-oriented and commercial skills, too many technology skills. People with business or business/technology hybrid experience will take at least 75% of strategic IT decisions, up from less than 40% in 2006.

Don’t come crying when you end up back looking after the data centre. So, get back on that treadmill and start jogging for your IT life.

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