Over the last decade, large firms and federal agencies upped spending significantly on information technology, but the increased spend did not lead to productivity gains or improved customer experience scores, according to a February report from Forrester.
The report outlines how truly innovative firms build agility and flexibility into their tech strategies to accommodate the introduction of emerging technologies into their business lines while meeting changing customer demands. To develop such “future fit” tech strategies, the report argues chief information officers must focus on maturing four IT competencies.
“Whereas, in the past, technology was at the tail end of the process, a future fit technology strategy enables firms to constantly adapt and reimagine new business opportunities, anticipate customer needs with creativity and speed, and prioritize resiliency to deliver sustainable disruptive innovations,” the report states.
Specifically, the report suggests CIOs “focus equally” on technology, people, processes and governance. In technology, decision-makers should look at three key areas: platforms for flexibility, emerging tech for new opportunities and privacy.
People—organization culture, talent and structure—are as important as the technology quotient, the report states. Forrester suggests “leadership and culture combine” to significantly impact an organization’s ability to be “customer-obsessed.”
“Culture is the toughest challenge, given that important values like speed, customer empathy, and employee empathy have traditionally been missing from technology teams,” the report states.
An agency’s processes are equally important, and bureaucracies common across government dramatically reduce mission speed. The best firms, the report argues, are those that “sense and respond proactively to changing market, technology and societal conditions.” Forrester suggests investment in DevOps and mesh of low-code developments and automation to cut costs and increase agility.
The report also suggests CIOs need a new approach to tech governance that differs from previous eras where CIOs did not always have budget control. CIOs now must be risk managers, deciding what positive or negative potential outcomes come with each technology and whether they are worth the risk of implementing. CIOs should also use policy to drive solutions.
“Tech leaders must ensure that governance bodies set and follow policies to facilitate the development of platforms and then use these policies to drive funding decisions,” the report states.
Future fit technology strategies require transformation across all of IT’s competencies. For people, address culture, talent, and structure. Make IT processes fast and iterative with agile delivery. Upgrade governance across budget, risk, and outcome measurement. And redo your approach to technology, emphasizing tech-driven innovation
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