The more things change, the more they stay the same. This age old
adage is perhaps best exemplified by the constantly shifting IT
landscape where the role of the CIO must continually evolve to meet new
But, does that mean today’s IT has to completely abandon its
traditions? If IT must change, are the best practices we learned “yesterday”
completely moot? Hardly!
In fact, some now argue that since the recession appears to
be stubbornly holding on, this may be just the right time to take a look back
and re-examine lessons learned in the past.
Bob Lewis thinks so. In his article, The IT Survival Guide for Uncertain Times,
Lewis contradicts several
recent studies and makes the claim that, because the economy is so shaky, CIOs
need to strike a balance between the new and “old IT.”
From the article:
“ . . . the "new IT" -- the IT that says
"here's how" rather than "no," that encourages end-user
innovation rather than stifles it, and that builds technology to support
practices as well as processes -- isn't simply a replacement. It is something
IT leaders will have to take hold of in addition to the old IT.”
other words, now might be the time to borrow a page from an older playbook. After all, old IT kept a closer eye on the budget,
ran with leaner teams and knew how to say no to initiatives (and personnel)
that could be considered “organizational chart luxuries,” Lewis says.
The sentiment is also echoed in Michael Vizard’s recent post, "Time to Re-evaluate IT Management Strategy."
Vizard argues that today’s IT management processes have
become overly fragmented and unwieldy. In addition, they’re under constant
stress from the downturn in the economy and the rise of mobile computing. Have some IT organizations grown too fast? Are
they now unmanageable and/or incapable of effectively responding to more
changes looming on the horizon?
“ . . . the fact remains that IT organizations are being
asked to address a host of issues that existing processes were never designed
to cope with,” he writes. “If that’s the case, then maybe the time to take a
giant step back in order to re-evaluate those processes from end to end might
be more than a little overdue.”
The key is to find balance. No one wants to
see IT move backward. Nor should it stop innovating, improving and updating.
But, IT’s approach has to be thoughtful and strategic. Plot your course
carefully. Look at the problem holistically. These days, technology is pervasive across the enterprise. IT can
certainly learn from its past, but it needs to adapt the best of its older
tried-and-true processes so they can drive revenue and growth for today’s businesses, where technology is
more integrated than ever before.