The Forrester Muse
APR 5, 2013 11:43am ET

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The Emerging Technology Juggernaut


I heard a great analogy from a client recently; buying new technology is like buying a new car - there are a lot of different strategies. Some people want a new car every couple of years and pay a premium to have it, some choose to lease so they get a new car every few years at a lower payment but they don’t own. Others buy new but plan to drive the wheels off their purchase. The problem is that IT wants to buy a nice reliable sedan and drive it for 200K miles, while some business units want to lease a SUV and others want a Ferrari. It’s an issue of misalignment, but in so many cases IT is not synching up with the business desire to innovate and differentiate with new technology.

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Comments (1)

I agree with your recommended approach to staying abreast of new technology and the need for IT to actively engage business to find the shadow IT and help make it better for the business. However, one critical element of your blog received short shrift: "...the fundamental issues of misalignment, missed dependencies, unrealistic expectations, and out of whack risk/reward postures are not addressed."

The proverbial 800 lb gorilla in the room are the existing business systems. Likely ERP of some current vintage and industry dominance or perhaps some homegrown, custom built application from years gone by...regardless the issue is the same. These systems cannot change to meet the demands of business in a time frame, cost, risk, or resource profile that allows IT to remain synched with Business. If Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus - IT is from 1987 and Business is from 2017. These systems are powerful, complex and run all of the essential corporate and financial elements of the business that they need. But they were built to centralize and standardize - not change. And business is about nothing but change.

IT needs to recognize this and stop putting the ERP on the altar; praying that a new version is going to have the functionality (so wait 18 months Mr. Business) or that Business stops asking for new things. IT's to-do list is a mile long and it isn't their fault.

So the Enterprise Architect needs to declare that the ERP is no longer available to be modified, upgraded, replaced or integrated. It is removed from the altar, put into the foundation of the building where it belongs, and innovation can return. IT can lead that innovation because through all of their pains they know the business. Working hand in hand with Operations using the new, enterprise technology so widely available they can change their first name to Innovation, instead of information.

Posted by Steve C | Wednesday, April 10 2013 at 12:00PM ET
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