Why 2016 is going to be the "Year of Relevance" for IT

Why 2016 is going to be the "Year of Relevance" for IT

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January 07, 2016
CIO as Digital Leader

As we start 2016, analysts, journalists, and fellow technologists are making their predictions about what lies in store for the year. And while I agree with many of their projections about how next-generation technologies and emerging paradigms are likely to impact IT, from my perspective, 2016 is going to be the Year of Relevance.  

Let me explain.

Technology is having a strong influence on how business is conducted across enterprises. In such an environment, It could be very tempting to jump on the bandwagon and adopt the next “cool” technology just to keep up with the competition. But the “Relevance Factors” I’m listing below could help enterprises strike the right balance between adopting the latest technologies and finding the right fit for their organizations.

1. Relevance of Automation. It is important to ensure that the right processes are being automated and, more importantly, that they are being executed correctly in the first place. Automation must also have appropriate controls in place so that manual overrides and corrections can be made. Computers can fail, too!

As you consider what functions make the most sense to automate in your IT organization in 2016, be sure to identify the business benefits automation will provide. Then, make sure there are metrics you can use to justify the investment. Ideally, there you’ll have existing data that you can compare to the expected outcomes of your automation efforts so you can show stakeholders it’s relevant to what you’re trying to achieve.

2. Relevance of Innovation. Innovation becomes real when it has the sponsorship of the right leaders and is aligned with concrete business goals. Innovative solutions that directly impact the external customer usually have a longer life span before their eventual commoditization. Hello, Design Thinking! It’s vital that your innovation efforts have direct, or even indirect, relevance of to the end customer.

3. Relevance of Integration. With the continuous proliferation of data, cost-effective and purposeful integration is going to be a defining component of every solution. Integration is made relevant when it ensures the timely delivery of the right information to the ecosystem of consumers, including the customer (internal and external). Appropriate Data Governance and Information Governance measures will ensure that the right data sources are integrated for the right business reasons.

4. Relevance of Cloud. Every application does not necessarily have to be in the cloud.  Migration to the cloud is a business decision that needs to be made by the enterprise leadership taking into consideration the business functions being impacted and the overall cost of migration. It is extremely important to engage the user community and the end customer before making the decision to move to the cloud, especially if it is going to impact the overall user experience. The opportunity to move to the cloud lets you take a step back and explore whether there’s a need to make any changes to your existing application environment .Taking these measures will ensure that cloud is relevant overall to the enterprise.

5. Relevance of Technology.  I could not agree more with Vanguard CIO John Marcante who asserts that those aspiring to be a leader should be technology strategists first. With the ease of access to the Internet of Things, wearables, social media and other enterprise-level advancements, it is important to ensure that appropriate governance is in place around the introduction of new technology within the enterprise. Community-driven innovation internal and external to the enterprise has a stronger chance of making technology more relevant. If a passionate advocate is hunting for a problem in order to deploy a new technology, it could be a tell-tale sign of technology being deployed for technology’s sake. Therefore it’s not relevant.

Enterprises that give due consideration to these relevance factors will have a better chance of realizing the business benefits of technological advancements in the New Year. By doing this, I can safely predict that enterprise IT will stay relevant.

What are other factors of relevance? Are there other steps IT leaders can take to better ensure the relevance factors identified above? Please let me know.

With over 25 years of experience in the IT industry selling, delivering and managing enterprise solutions for global enterprises, E.G.Nadhan is the Chief Technology Strategist at Red Hat (Central Region) working with the executive leadership of enterprises to innovatively drive Cloud Transformation with Open Source technologies and DevOps.  Nadhan also provides thought leadership on various concepts including Big Data, Analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT).

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