At Apptio, we’ve heard people describe technological innovation in plenty of different ways. Many think of it as a “game changer,” a “key to success,” or a “must-have.”

But, Roger Roberts, an IT strategist at McKinsey & Co., has all of these metaphors beat, hands-down. To him, technological innovation is now a “full-contact sport across the leadership team."

Roberts, who’s interviewed in Linda Tucci’s recent article at SearchCIO.com , says he’s seeing more technological sophistication in management teams and leaders, who are less willing to say to their CIOs, "OK, you go make that stuff happen; we'll run the business."

That’s not surprising. As IT becomes increasingly integrated with strategic business goals, more and more members of the C-suite are stepping up to the plate. They’re looking to engage with the IT shop. They’re recognizing that these days, business value is created when IT and the C-suite work together.  As Roberts puts it:

 “I think there is almost no function that can afford to not have its eye on the ball when it comes to the possibilities that technology opens up.”

So, not only is the role of the CIO changing. The way the entire C-suite interacts with IT is changing, too.

 Now that management teams are more technology literate than ever before, IT needs to accept its leadership role in changing the business. Roberts continues:

“On the other hand, technologists and IT leaders can play an important role as enablers and catalysts for innovation. On that front, I see two big areas: First is in making sure they are operating as more than order-takers with their business customers. They are bringing ideas, they are acting as thought leaders, they are beginning to lay out the possibilities that IT can create for the business and therefore catalyze innovation and new business opportunities.

Second is in creating a better sandbox, so to speak, for innovators, by populating it with some of their best people from IT in combination with others from business functions to experiment with new business concepts, and to bring them to market quite quickly. [This setup] allows new ideas to be tested and run as they are in real experiments that are measured carefully, just like the way you would do them from a scientific perspective. The kind of technological innovation that derives from experimentation is one of the most recent trends we've spotted, and it is one of the areas where the most visionary players and companies are moving.”

We believe that Technology Business Management can serve as facilitators in this process. Today, technology is pervasive across the enterprise. That means the business management of technology must also be pervasive across the enterprise, too. Business leaders need real-time intelligence to make fact-based decisions, and they need a new methodology to quantify the cost, quality and value of IT. Recognizing IT as an innovation is a critical first step. But, you’ll need the right tools so you can optimize your investments.