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Can you change the future of IT?

My last article on IT Specialist talked about “How to save 30% of IT costs”, and gave people some ideas they could implement that could give effect to that change. But it stikes me that I'm asking for too much change. So here's some thoughts on how to change (and importantly WHAT to change).

Your default future

Now, I have just read an article by David Trafford and Peter Boggis of Formicio,  ( where they talk about the concept of a default future. They say that you can have the best visions for your future, and develop really detailed strategies and plans, but unless you address the things that drive your path towards your ‘default future’, you’re going to reach that future state and not your planned future.

The default future for IT departments

I see the default future drivers like a fish-bone diagram, with the centre being your current trajectory, and the ‘bones’ being the drivers. Trafford and Boggis talk about the forces driving you towards your non-planned future as being mindset, culture, economic conditions, regulations, and legacy technology. I’ve added a few myself, poor past decisions, lack of leadership, comfort, competencies and yes, past success.

For each organisation, the drivers of your default future will be particular to that organisation but by no means will they be unique.

Change the drivers of your future, to change your future

And I agree with Trafford and Boggis when they say that if your future plans don’t address these drivers of non-change, then you won’t end up anywhere different. (It was Einstein who said that people who do the same things and expect different results, are insane). So what things do you need to change if you want to achieve a 30% saving in IT?

The drivers of IT’s future

  • Thinking the technology is actually important - it isn’t. Look at all the tech focused people you have - they will drive you towards a non-business focused future.
  • Thinking that six to eighteen months is an acceptable delivery time on new projects - it isn’t.  Some parts of the business need IT delivery in weeks, others in months. Your development engine that grinds out waterfall projects is driving you away from delivering at the speed of business change
  • Think benefits aren’t your problem - If your people think that there’s too much happening to constantly go back to review if you’ve achieved what you said you would, then don’t expect to get resources from business for any change you might want to make
  • Keep up the jargon and FUD - that drives lack of understanding of the business role of IT -your default future includes being the bystanders in your business
  • Thinking your legacy is un-changeable - of course it is, and it’s much, much, easier to do now than it ever was. Your mindset that legacy is holding you back, is driving you towards a future where legacy never disappears
  • If you don’t think your job is any more than: “providing the technology that keeps the business running” you will be in trouble - defining your role as a support role in the business will drive exactly that future. Problem is your executives want a totally different role from IT. In fact they want IT to spend only 20% of their time on support, the rest in their business.

Business is changing their future, will IT change theirs?

If you don’t change these drivers, your future will be the same as your past. Problem is, we’re seeing business waking up to the fact that IT needn’t be the way it’s been in the past. Look at the Cloud, Mobility, Commercialisation of IT, BYOD, Connected users, Social media, Big data. These are the drivers of your business future. And they’ll get there with or without you.

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