The Next Change In IT Leadership….Are You Ready?
Hello and welcome to my blog. My purpose in writing this blog is to explore the changes in our industry and how such changes will impact us including how we must change ourselves, our teams, how we interact with our business partners and how we manage our careers. I’m hoping that I can share some of my observations, getting some good feedback in the process and also create a friendly forum for other authors and readers to share their thoughts.
My focus will be on IT strategy in the business environment, including how we introduce, implement and manage change (both operational and cultural), how we organize our teams, how we execute our work, deliver services and partner with the business. This is my first forray into the blogosphere, so bear with me as I figure out how to get the blog set up and looking presentable. Enjoy your visit and thanks for stopping by!
Much has changed in the world of information technology and the changes show no signs of slowing. In recent years we’ve seen a very quiet but significant change in thinking about IT leadership. Where at one time, a strong technical background in application development or infrastructure was a non-negotiable prerequisite, more recently the trend has been toward a focus on business knowledge. I expect this will only continue.
Part of this trend is based on the business’ desire to control costs. C level executives in IT are expensive – less so Director level management. Where at one time, CIOs and CTOs reported directly to the CEO, more and more technology leaders are again reporting to COOs and CFOs, causing many to question the need for C level technology executives at all.
Another part of this trend comes from the maturation of our workforce. With much of the workforce already having a basic technology background (and increasingly more than just a basic understanding of IT), the mystery around understanding technology is seen less as a challenge requiring a highly paid former-geek and more an opportunity to recruit someone with strong business knowledge and a working appreciation of technology, such that this knowledge can be leveraged to improve business operations and drive revenue.
Technology is being seen less and less as a separate and distinct expense that one must incur and instead is being seen as a business investment from which management expects a return. This paradigm shift not only impacts how business and technology interact, but also will require a change in the type of leadership required. IT leaders will be seen less as technologists who work with the business, but as business leaders who specialize in technology.
The essence of this change is the shift from ‘information technology’ to ‘business technology‘. More than semantics, this change in mindset requires technology leaders to think of themselves as business resources first and foremost. The ability to understand the connection between business operations and revenue retention and growth and to leverage this knowledge in developing and executing strategic roadmaps is where the value of the future IT leader lies.
This said, the need for IT leaders to both understand and embrace this change is essential. As we come out of the Great Recession, I expect we’ll see a major shift in IT leadership and management across all industries. We as technology leaders must be able to successfully navigate this change, understanding what it means to us today, tomorrow and how we’ll adapt.
Change has always been the essence of IT. Unfortunately, people are not hard-wired to embrace change. We like things very predictable and systematic. Since we’ve chosen this industry, it is incumbent upon us to first manage ourselves and our own resistance to change, then as leaders, help our teams navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology.
In the months ahead, I hope to delve deeper into some aspects of what we do, how we do it and how we can be effective. Comments are ALWAYS welcome and patience, as I get better at this, is definitely appreciated!