Fixing the perception that enterprise IT is irrelevant

How to fix the perception that enterprise IT is irrelevant
Credit: Melissa Riofrio

IT’s relationship with the rest of enterprise is getting increasingly rocky. Steps can be taken, however, to alleviate the situation.

Continuing perception of IT being slow to innovate is reflected in a new report from consultancy Accenture. IT is no longer the body sought out by executives to perform business transformations, research has found. And IT doesn’t have the skills to adapt successfully to an as-a-service environment either.

As-a-service is a term for cloud, software, tech services and so on that is delivered on-demand over the internet.

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However, the companies that spurn traditional IT may be in for a rude awakening, the firm says. Security holes, project delays and spectacular cost overshoots are a few of the downsides ready to slap-down IT naysayers. IT should preempt this and capitalize.

Accenture suggests IT is to blame for its current business isolation because it hasn’t adapted to changes. The problem isn’t insurmountable, though. Solutions include IT reinventing itself so it looks more digital and positioning itself be the savior, helping companies get value out of as-a-service.

IT should think of itself a service broker rather than a monopoly, the report says. IT services no longer simply derive from IT, so “strategies, attitudes and behaviors have to change.”

Accenture says IT can do that by viewing itself as a cloud-competitive operation and also an enabler of cloud and as-a-service. Both work, and the key is to provide value and to look at both as competing providers. Traditional IT has to be competitive with as-a-service and vice versa. IT has to go along and indeed propose and manage whatever works best.

Territorial attitudes in favor of one or the other have to be quashed.

Adopting a service-first mindset

A principal problem found is that tech services are available on-demand whenever the enterprise wants, Accenture says.

“The business has more choices than ever before when it comes to sourcing its technology needs, and enterprise IT isn’t necessarily their first choice,” the report says.

Executives are getting used to the idea of on-demand, so IT needs to be aware of that and act in more of an entrepreneurial “service-first mindset,” providing legacy IT or as-a-service—whatever is appropriate.

Not doing that is manifesting itself in business executives “working around IT,” Accenture explains. That needs to be stopped. It’s a bad idea mainly because it increases risk, although it is now a reality.

Strategies for these transformations include self-testing the IT organization by looking at problem resolution response times and taking a “greenfield” approach. Starting afresh, in other words. That can include moving away from people-based interfaces to tools and even re-organizing role requirements: Does one need to implement broader skills-hiring, say, rather than looking for “deep-knowledge” skills such as networks or servers?

IT as it is now, however, is slaughtered in the survey. “Our research found that 77 percent of respondents feel that the IT organization lacks the skill sets for an as-a-service world. Forty-two percent believe that enterprise IT takes longer to implement solutions; 39 percent say that IT adds limited value,” Accenture says.

“Enterprise IT is at risk of being marginalized,” the report concludes.

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