By: Dave Hood, CEO, Troux
Let’s talk about an oft-maligned buzzword…innovation. By definition, it’s “a new method, idea, product, etc.” Be honest, how difficult do you find it to innovate and truly create something new and impactful in today’s world? If you feel like you’re lagging, you are not alone. The reality is that it takes time and resources to properly evaluate where innovation is needed, set goals and deliver on promises. The complexity and pace of change in today’s digital world make that difficult. It’s a noteworthy accomplishment just to keep up. To that end, let’s look at nailing innovation — innovating with purpose — from an IT perspective.
IT innovation underpins the entire enterprise.
Innovation at the IT level is an ongoing, often talked about, but seldom celebrated goal. It doesn’t just feed the engineering, product and QA teams anymore; it’s now firmly rooted in every aspect of the business, from marketing to HR to customer service to finance. That gives IT what some see as a massive opportunity and what others may perceive to be a substantial burden, either way making it even more important that the chosen focus areas for innovation benefit the enterprise as a whole. That pressure begs the question: Where are the best places to look to drive purposeful innovation?
In today’s trend and gadget-crazed world are IT leaders truly driving innovation, or are they mainly reacting to it? How does a CIO get in front of the innovation curve rather than be pushed from behind?
Malcom Ryder, PinkForum14, August 2014
Change at the Speed of Now. The Innovation Curve: In Front of it, or Behind
In today’s world, many disruptors are bearing down on the IT organization, and they’re not just in the form of our personal devices. The business is expecting IT to innovate in the exact places where those disruptors exist, before business leaders have to ask or an issue forces IT to patch holes. We also have to consider the implications of technology integration with partners, vendors, suppliers, end users and all other stakeholders in the business. Innovation inevitably means change that must serve (or at least be acceptable to) many masters. As Ryder outlines, if IT is truly evolving, it’s moving toward diversity, not uniformity. Between market disruptors, technological diversity and the needs of the business, IT organizations have to be equipped to properly evaluate, visualize and manage the impact of internal and external changes and investments.
Gordon Cooper, vice president of standards and governance at insurance firm AIG, puts together the pieces of diversity, evolution, risk assessment and investment in a recent interview with SearchSOA contributor Christine Parizo:
“‘If you look at how technology is updated in an enterprise, one of the things you’re working through is matching the technology adoption curve with the technology value curve,’ Cooper said. In other words, it’s not that users don’t want to adopt new technology, but it’s the risk they have to accept by moving to new technology.
That’s where risk assessment as part of enterprise architecture comes in, Cooper said. Enterprise architecture allows the IT team to map specific product lines, capabilities and lifecycles of systems to pinpoint where improvements can be made. Then, the business can choose which phase of adoption it wants to be a part of and hit the sweet spot to make the most of the technology investment. ‘In some instances, early adoption is good; if you want to create a dominant design, you have to be ahead of that curve,’ Cooper advised.”
Gordon Cooper, SearchSOA, December 2014
The digital world has us innovating at the “speed of now.”
In any industry, innovation naturally evolves to meet the demands of the masses. For an IT organization, that requires advancing in lockstep with the rate of proliferation of devices, apps, data and processes coming from not only employees, but also vendors, channels and partners. In this digital era, change is almost happening at a quicker clip than we can keep up with. For many IT organizations, this is where the innovation bottleneck presents itself, as today’s IT leaders are finding themselves stuck in a spin cycle of reaction to business demands or even inertia. The information they need to evaluate risk factors and make decisions is either difficult to obtain or takes too long to aggregate and analyze. The necessity to be out ahead of “what’s next,” whether that be digitization, a new approach like business ecosystem modeling or something else, has never been more crucial.
Enter enterprise intelligence.
The need to be out ahead is exactly where enterprise intelligence (EI) supports a company’s efforts by helping them pinpoint exactly where to innovate and invest, making corporate heroes of the CIO, CTO and IT organization. Enterprise intelligence simplifies decision-making and the strategic planning challenges by providing a deeper understanding of how the aforementioned disrupters, business considerations and speed pressures affect the connected enterprise. EI also provides the necessary insight to take inventory of the technology already in place and clean house of those assets that require resources to maintain but are no longer enabling innovation for the business.
Many CIOs are arguing for enterprise architects, the champions of EI, to be involved from the outset of the ideation process for innovation – a smart move. The heightened level of transparency and line-of-sight across the entire enterprise that their involvement provides keeps CIOs, their decision-making counterparts and their IT teams on the gas pedal of true, directed, purposeful innovation.
Download our whitepaper, The Power of Enterprise Intelligence, to learn how to make better decisions faster and innovate in the today’s ‘speed of now’ world.