Requirements for today’s CIO: multi-speed IT

If your mother is anything like ours, she is constantly reminding you to focus on one thing at a time, warning of the many ways multitasking can lead to spreading yourself to thin. However, multitasking is exactly what today’s CIO is required to do – from making a mobile app for customers one second, to addressing a downed server the next, to replacing an outdated marketing database and addressing another downed server the next! These are just a few of the demands CIOs face at any given moment on any given day, particularly when they operate in a smaller business and don’t have an expansive team to which they can delegate such tasks.

We have found that the most successful CIOs focus on providing the right information to the right person at the right time in order to identify better ways to deliver their businesses’ services or products to customers. They take on the roll of “traffic controller” versus trying to do it all themselves. Otherwise there would be no way to keep legacy systems up and running while identifying the new tools in a quickly evolving technological landscape, or to manage risk and cut costs while also identifying proactive investments that can put the company a step ahead of the competition.

But how to do this? Most IT enterprises are not equipped or do not know how to operate effectively while supporting multiple objectives at the same time. The key is creating an IT architecture in which the company’s technologies match the speeds at which the business needs to consume it. We stand by Accenture’s methodology for leveraging Multi-speed IT, and our experts have adapted it based on feedback and experience working with small business owners:

    Recognize the need for multi-speed IT
    In order to have relevant IT for the various aspects of a business, the CIO must broaden IT’s scope. This will allow the organization’s technology to keep pace with the newly evolving needs of the business while still attending to its traditional needs.

    Deploy multiple governance methods
    IT’s governance must support multiple ways (and as we previously mentioned, speeds) of operating. This means developing iterative methods that can change to support quickly changing user experiences while maintaining core IT systems.

    Rethink IT architecture
    Simplify legacy IT architecture in order to reduce costs and provide greater agility. Consider integrating more agile, cloud-based systems that will provide a layered approach to IT.

    Invent the new IT organization
    What is your overarching IT agenda (developed in accordance with your business goals, of course!), and where are new skills required to support your multi-speed business agenda? Develop a roadmap to help you achieve your organization’s goals and, as part of this map, plan out an approach to equip your IT team with skills to master new tools and techniques like APIs.

For small business owners, this process might seem overwhelming and time consuming. We like to view it as an investment in your core competitive advantage: technology-driven customer service. Still have questions? Feel free to contact us to talk through implementation in your particular situation.