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Straight Talk Technology

Ovum view

How the IT department is organized is a crucial element of being able to service the organization, its customers, and its ecosystem. The fast and inexorable pace of change and disruptive competition has caused a need to look seriously at how organizations work. The IT management team needs to center on agile delivery, to focus on customers, suppliers, and allies, and to track, analyze, and socialize technology trends. This is a far cry from the "plan-build-run" mindset that accorded IT its successes in the past.

The new agile IT management team consists of at least six roles, some of which are new to the organization or updated from the traditional IT management team.

IT needs to focus on three primary activities: the product and customer, the organizational capability and culture, and the platform capability. This immediately suggests that the IT management team should include the following: a chief digital officer (CDO), who is focused on digital processes, digital products, and the customer's digital experience; an IT management team member, who should also be looking at the organization's capabilities and culture – possibly called the chief capabilities officer (CCO); and a chief technology officer (CTO), who should be responsible for the capabilities of the platform. However, there is also the possibility of appointing a chief operations officer (COO) for IT, whose role is to manage the delivery element for products, internal systems, and platforms.

IT needs a financial officer – a CITFO – as well. It is astounding that many large IT departments with budgets in the tens or hundreds of millions do not see the need for professional financial management or insist on a businesslike approach to the management of investment, financing, accounting, depreciation, and financial reporting in IT.

Finally, in a fast-changing world, IT needs a chief architect. The role is more than technology architecture or even enterprise architecture (EA); it is about taking an idea, modeling the proposed solution, and testing that solution against the present operation. Ovum has recently reviewed EA solutions and found that they have changed dramatically in the past few years. Most EA solutions providers are now what Ovum calls "architect everything" (AE) companies. Not only do their tools model strategies, businesses, ecosystems, capabilities, customer journeys, product "journeys," and even corporate culture, but they target business users and executives, with a small percentage of their anticipated users being architects and power users. Technology architectures are assumed to be a given, acting to enable digital business, but the main thrust is business analysis, planning, digital twins, and impact analyses. The aim is to make intelligent executive decisions continuously. There is an argument to be made that the chief architect should be part of the C-Suite and not an IT person at all.

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