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:
Forrester’s IT Forum 2010 is right around the corner, and much of Forrester’s research community is gearing up for a great event. Having spent a considerable amount of time working on the content, I’m really pleased with how the industry keynotes are taking shape. If the growing attendance figures are any indication, our theme of “making the business technology (BT) transformation a reality” seems to be resonating with CIOs. I think Forum attendees are going to enjoy the real-world examples provided by keynoters such as Stephen Gillett, SVP, CIO, and GM of Digital Ventures at Starbucks.
Stephen is one of the rising young stars in the IT industry, helping transform Starbucks’ digital business. At IT Forum, he will be talking about how to elevate the role of the traditional CIO to that of a digital business leader. We thought we’d give you all a chance to pose a question of Stephen about the changing role of the CIO. Please leave your questions for Stephen in the comments section, email them to us, or tweet them to us @Forrester. We’ll choose the best of those questions, ask Stephen, and post his answers here during the week of May 17.
CIO job tenure is now averaging 4.6 years, according to the Society for Information Management. That’s up – way up -- from the 2-3 year average that we saw just a few years ago. How do you explain the lengthening time in job? Is it just because CIOs are better at their jobs than CEOs or CFOs who have higher churn rates? Probably not.
My guess is that the post dot-com bust and post 9/11 recession triggered CIOs to hunker down and be a bit more risk-adverse. They stayed put for a few years, then facing the more recent economic slump, stayed put even longer. They stayed busy doing what they unfortunately are known for -- helping with enterprise cost cutting. More reactive, more cost conscious, and less innovative CIOs are less likely to take risks and less likely to be fired for risk-taking.
But I suspect the trend towards longer tenure is rapidly coming to an end. The CIOs I speak with are eagerly waking up to tackle innovation and new investments in 2010. And we’re seeing more and more ex-consultant hot shots and business execs from elsewhere in the company recently hired on to “fix IT” join the CIO ranks. More proactive, innovative, and impactful CIOs are more likely to follow ambitious career paths – or (if your a glass-half-empty kind of guy or girl) get fired for risk-taking.
Economic relief is in the air. When Cisco executive John Chambers is in a "sunny" mood and describes revenue growth as “dramatic,” you know that positive signs will shortly be all around. Forecasts of positive IT spending abound, including Forrester’s Q4 signal and 2010 perspective.