In the past, significant innovations in technology were single-threaded and came along one at a time – so the journey was simple and linear. However, today we live in a world where multi-threaded innovations arrive together, with competition closing in on them quickly (think of Apple, Samsung and FitBit). From Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC), each of these advances has the potential to produce enormous value in its own right; however, the full potential emerges only when those capabilities work in combination to create new experiences for users and businesses.
While the shift to digital may be empowered by advances in technology, success depends on a new level of engagement and consensus among stakeholders across the entire organization. The business case for genuinely innovative investment will look much different from the sustaining investment that simply keeps the lights on. Clearly, the stakes are higher and the ROI may be less certain, or longer in coming. From an IT perspective, we expect to see great potential for the CIO to perform the role of enterprise-enabler. However, it may be necessary to build new kinds of relationships with experts in the digital landscape. Naturally, it will require a new operating model and sourcing strategy because IT organizations can no longer afford to go it alone as single-source providers of technology solutions. They will build new kinds of relationships ranging from experts in IT transformation services and digital technologies to acquire needed skills, plus Cloud-based infrastructure and service-based solutions.
Today, many of the leading IT services companies have built practices specifically to bring digital enablement capabilities that provides full-cycle support to CIOs and their teams. Their mission is to help CIOs understand the kind of talent needed to organize a team that is agile and thinks digitally while providing the wider business advisory expertise that grounds digital strategy in the real world. Building relationships of this type brings strategic partnering to the top of the pyramid, and this helps position the IT team as the go-to partner for solution delivery and business success.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of IT service companies who can provide basic services, and there are many others who want to help you re-engineer your IT, but that mixture is like oil and water. You need a provider who sees both sides of the coin and one that brings both types of capability; that means you get practical, value-adding innovation that supports the business objectives and delivers sustainable value not only today, but three to five years down the road.