Information Technology ("IT") is rapidly changing. The type of initiatives, the timing and pace, the right expertise and required resources, the available solutions, the way you procure and host the solutions (SaaS, Cloud,...), and other variables have changed and will continue to change. Over the past 25+ years, I have worked as a global CIO, as well as a trusted technology advisor to CEOs and other C-level executives, including CIOs and CMOs. I have found that some leaders get it, and others don't. Some leaders understand the changes and fully embrace and leverage them, and others are still holding on to the ways of yesteryear.
Often I find that Chief Marketing Officers are the ones that really get it, and are doing the best job of leveraging the new information technology landscape. They start with the CUSTOMER in mind... not the tech. They set goals that are bold, creative and extraordinary. They can clearly articulate the right business value of the I.T. initiative, and get the full buy-in of the stakeholders and executive team. They quickly define the goal and set a plan that will produce timely results. They understand that innovation and the advantage of creative I.T. is a limited time window. In understanding this window of opportunity, they look across all potential resources and find the best expertise that could produce the right results in a timely manner. They don't limit themselves or the initiative to just internal resources, they find external, trusted partners that can augment them and/or can provide the targeted turnkey solution within the required time frame. They get the new business environment for IT... they get the "new IT".
In contrast, too often I see Chief Information Officers that are stuck in the old paradigm of "command and control". They insist on everything being controlled by internal IT resources, but complain that they don't have the time or necessary resources to deliver what the customer demands. They have inadvertently set themselves up to be a barrier and/or business constraint, which causes tension within the organization. CIOs and IT organizations must evolve, reexamine their approach, and be open to alternatives. Yes, having been a CIO myself, I do understand the importance of security, integration, and the other concerns that IT leaders throw out for why they can't consider alternatives. But the truth is, you can successfully execute the timely approach being applied by CMOs that I described in the previous paragraph, AND also do it in a manner that is secure and integrated. Now I do know many progressive CIOs that get IT... we just need a lot more that get the new IT.
The pace of business and information technology will continue to increase. Windows of opportunity will continue to shrink and become tighter. To be successful, leaders must adapt, continuously take a new look at their approach and options, fully leverage ALL the resources and expertise available, and understand the "new IT".
Mark Johnson is the Chief Executive at Xtrii. He has been an award-winning, global CIO, CTO, and business leader for more than 25 years. For more details visit his LinkedIn profile or follow him on Twitter @johnsonme.