What is Happening? The components of the new Master Architecture have accelerated rapidly to a level of business relevance since we first described it last year (“Boundary-free Enterprise: Empowered by the New Master Architecture”). Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Integration (CSMA/I) have all become part of strategies for forward-looking IT organizations.

Saugatuck’s current research on the adoption and use of these same strategies indicates two important trends:

  1. Most enterprise leaders (Business/LOB and IT) do see the advantages and value available in a unified and consistent, architecture-enabled use of CMSA/I, and are making some moves toward realizing that value; but
  2. There is an underlying problem facing many, if not most enterprise IT leaders and organizations: these technologies have developed much faster than enterprise IT groups and practices have been able to adopt and manage them.

This has substantial repercussion on the IT provider side, because many (perhaps most) providers have been running as fast and as far as they can to innovate and stay ahead of technology curves, in order to demonstrate differentiation and establish market leadership. But one unfortunate result that we’re seeing emerge is that more and more enterprises simply can’t keep pace with their IT providers – and can’t take advantage of the innovation they deliver.
Why is it Happening? In many ways, we’re seeing a sort of reverse “Innovator’s Dilemma” as publicized by Clayton Christenson in his 1997 book, “The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail.” Christensen proposed that companies in any marketplace can put too much emphasis on customers' current needs, and fail to adopt new technology or business models that will address emergent or future needs. In this case, we are seeing more and more innovative IT providers well out ahead of current customers’ needs, and even ahead of current customers’ abilities to profit from providers’ offerings.

Many, if not most, enterprise IT departments have developed significant entrenched inertia that tends to keep them on the same path, or in a static “holding pattern” in which they do not have the sufficient business directives or budgets to innovate substantially outside of their day-to-day service delivery.

In places where this inertia is positive, these companies tend to be early adopters, and are generally working with vendors to trial and implement new technologies. In our experience, these companies often have business focused IT leadership and have been able to stay on top of delivering and innovating for business benefit. IT departments with significant forward momentum are becoming a competitive advantage in the current market climate, especially as those that are “static” are falling even further behind.

In addition, as the technology advances, the linear upgrade path becomes much more convoluted. As we have seen, skipping multiple versions and iterations can frequently increase the difficulty exponentially. As the pace of innovation has increased over the last decade though, it has made it progressively harder for IT organizations to keep up with strategic goals.

For an extended version of this Research Alert, visit Saugatuck Technology.

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