Speed and agility are at the heart of business today — and, unfortunately, those are two areas in which IT is falling short. Two trends — neither of which is going away anytime soon — are impacting this increased need. Consumerization is rapidly changing the expectations of today’s information workers. In too many instances that we care to acknowledge, your employees are using faster, more agile solutions at home than they are at the office. On top of that, businesses are under an increased demand to change.
Enterprise architects are in a unique position to be change agents for their businesses — if they aggressively change the way they work with the business. Join us at our Enterprise Architecture forums — May 3 to 4 in Las Vegas and June 19 to 20 in Paris — for practical guidance on how to connect EA with your business’ bottom line.
In today’s business environment, the pressure to change, and change quickly and often, is growing, thanks to the proliferation of empowered customers, emerging global markets, regulation (and deregulation), and growing social responsibilities. For the past several years, I’ve worked with CIOs from all types of industries as they’ve worked to transform the culture, the tactics, and the technology of their organization to become more agile. The successful ones, like Michael Mathias at Aetna or Glenn Schneider at Discover Financial Services, now sit in organizations where the business leaders look to IT as a key enabler of business agility.
And interestingly, when you speak with these successful CIOs, they often point to their enterprise architecture (and business architecture) as the secret weapon for how they achieve that agility -- the ability to tap new technologies and processes to help their businesses shift and innovate quickly. That’s great news, and shows the potential for high-performance EA practices.
Recently my colleague David Cooperstein and I had the opportunity to meet with Robert Mead and Michael Mathias, the CMO and CIO respectively at Aetna. They will be speaking at our upcoming CIO-CMO Forum on September 22 in Boston, so this serves as a bit of a preview to what should be an eye opening presentation. Enjoy!
David Cooperstein: What external changes drove you to build a deeper partnership with your technology peers?
Robert Mead, Senior Vice President, Aetna Marketing, Product & Communications: The U.S. health care system is fragmented and well behind the curve in terms of price transparency and consumer-friendly products and services. The deep partnership between technology and marketing at Aetna lets us put leading-edge technologies and powerful tools and applications directly into the hands of people so that they can be confident consumers and informed patients. Our close collaboration with our colleagues in technology is driven by a few external factors:
the increasing cost of care and the corresponding changes in employer-based insurance – consumers are being asked to take more ownership of their health and wellness and their health care spending;
the introduction and rapid adoption of technology that empowers consumers (and patients) to engage in the health care system where they are in life and in the way they want to be connected; and
health care reform, which aims to bring millions of previously uninsured Americans into the marketplace as consumers.
Forget Brad and Angelina (or "Brangelina" for those that are more plugged in to pop culture than I), the new "it" couple is the CIO and CMO. Why? In the digital world we live in today, which Forrester defines as the Age of the Customer, empowered buyers demand a new level of customer obsession. That means firms must deliver marketing and technology solutions that have visible impact on the customer. CIOs and CMOs are best positioned to deliver because they have a broad, end-to-end purview of their businesses and they understand how to innovate. But, CIOs and CMOs also often come with conflicting expectations and priorities that can sabotoge well-intentioned collaboration efforts.
Charles Rutstein, Forrester's COO, recently sat down with my CMO Practice Leader peer David Cooperstein and me to discuss the role that CIOs and CMOs play in this customer-obsessed new world. See what we had to say here:
Today we’re kicking off Forrester's IT Forum 2011 at The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Prepare for three exciting days of keynote presentations and track sessions focused on business and technology alignment. Use the Twitter widget below to follow the Forum conversation by tracking our event hashtag #ITF11 on Twitter. Attendees are encouraged to tweet throughout the Forum and to tweet any questions for our keynote presenters to #ITF11.
I am so looking forward to hearing from our keynoters next week at the Forrester's IT Forum 2011. Poised to be one of the most informative – and entertaining – will be Michael Ali, VP & CIO, Harman International. Michael will discuss how integration, not alignment, is the ultimate goal for CIOs who are determined to get the most out of IT investments for the benefit of their businesses. Rumor has it that he’ll also toss out some zinger lessons learned that will help us all avoid common pitfalls as we move beyond alignment. I asked Michael a few questions to get some insight on his IT organization and his experience with IT transformation. His answers point to both the fundamental shifts that will characterize the empowered BT era and some perennial truths of IT. We hope you can make it to Las Vegas to hear more . . .
Sharyn: To move beyond business-IT alignment, Forrester believes organizations must drive innovation. How is the IT organization at Harman doing that?
IT leaders are at a crossroads. To thrive in today's -- and tomorrow's -- rapidly changing digital world, they must move beyond the elusive idea of business and IT alignment, where business leaders are in the driver seat and IT leaders play a supporting and lagging role. Rather than plodding along in alignment, it's time to jump in the copilot seat. It's time to lock arms with their business peers to better serve customers, bring new products to market, and ultimately grow the top line. Our charter for Forrester’s IT Forum 2011 is to help you do just that -- build bridges to new business partners, scale innovative solutions, co-create business and technology strategy, and ultimately help your organization accelerate at the intersection of business and technology.
But let's be honest. All this talk of linking arms and co-creation may sound good and may be the ticket to your organization's success. But it's hard. Who's to say it will work? And by the way, what's in it for you? That's why Marc Cecere will dedicate IT Forum's opening keynote to exploring future models for IT that will fundamentally change current roles in IT. These models will support greater end user involvement, a larger variety of external suppliers, and the need to break down internal organizational and system silos. He'll also relate that back to what we've learned over the years about why certain IT roles -- like architecture, planning, vendor management, PMO, and security -- often fail (or at least struggle mightily) to arm you with clear steps that will help accelerate your personal career over the next decade.
Are you ready for Forrester's IT Forum 2011? Mark your calendars for May 25-27 in Las Vegas and June 8-10 in Barcelona — and help us design an event that is as relevant and productive for you as possible. We've come up with three potential draft themes and need your vote for the best IT Forum 2011 theme:
1. Unleash your empowered enterprise.
As technology becomes more accessible through mediums beyond IT's control, you have but one choice: Get proactive by empowering employees, or swim against the current. Successful BT leaders will react not by blocking access but by lending their expertise to increase the chances of technology success and empowering the users to solve customer and business problems. This year's IT Forum will provide a blueprint for reaping the benefits of your empowered organization — complete with case studies, methodologies, and step-by-step advice tailored to each IT role.
2. Capitalize on the intersection of business and technology.
IT leaders have long struggled to deliver business and technology alignment. But alignment implies a waterfall process: decide on a business strategy, and then build your technology on that foundation. Today, our businesses move too fast for the traditional IT model. Instead, Business Technology leaders must join the leaders of their lines of business to create business and technology strategy simultaneously. That means working with new business partners inside and outside your organization, operationalizing innovation through standards, and above all, saying, "yes, and..." instead of "yes, but..." This year, we'll dedicate IT Forum to building bridges to new business partners, scaling innovative solutions, and co-creating business and technology strategy.
A couple of weeks ago, we asked you to submit your questions for Stephen Gillett, EVP, CIO, and GM, Digital Ventures, Starbucks. Stephen will be giving a keynote address on how to elevate the role of the traditional CIO to that of a digital business leader next week at Forrester’s IT Forum. Thank you for your questions – they didn’t disappoint. Without further ado, here are the top questions we received, along with Stephen’s answers:
Is it me or do you feel like everyone is restructuring their IT organization – or at least talking about it? Chatter among CIOs often turns into a debate over the merits of plan-build-run models versus demand/supply models – or any other IT model du jour. So, I was eager to get my hands on the first draft of Marc Cecere’s presentation on “Future BT Organizational Models” that he’ll be delivering at Forrester’s IT Forum in Las Vegas (it’s next week, so I’m up to my elbows in draft presentations – reviewing our CIO analysts’ content, pushing their thinking further, and frankly reveling in all the new research). Here’s a sneak peek: