Technology, Cloud

Overcoming obstacles to IT business innovation

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Many and perhaps most IT departments are not thought of as wellsprings of innovation. I suppose some are even considered a necessary evil – like the accounting department.

Ok, necessary evil is overstating the case, but you get my drift. You, as a CIO, encourage your IT department to be creative, but with scarce resources, it’s a battle (your CEO certainly does not want creativity in accounting!).

Why aren’t IT departments innovative and charged with coming with new products and services? It’s all perception and company culture.

Years ago, I attended focus group after focus group, trying unearth what ITers wanted to read in the publication where I was editor.  I was always struck and, frankly, depressed, by the keep-your-head down/CYA mentality. Life’s too short, I thought.

But understandably, few were willing to take risks because that usually got them fired.

That attitude has changed in many successful companies because IT has become such a differentiator. With the rise of Federal Express and its package tracking in the mid-nineties, companies discovered that IT could make a transformative difference. So why does the negative perception about IT persist?

CA Technologies blogger Steve Romero took a stab at the issue in a recent post.

Here’s what he sees as the six obstacles to IT business innovation.

“-- Biz doesn't view IT as a source of business innovation

--History of technology failures erodes biz confidence in IT ability to drive innovation

--IT does not have a reputation of optimal delivery of "bread-and-butter" technology services

--Pervasive culture-based aversion to failure (response is punitive vs. learning opportunity)

--Biz and IT do not coalesce into single innovation machine

--Lack of IT governance-fostered IT/Biz alignment that overcomes every previous obstacle”

What other obstacles can you think of and what’s going to get rid of them so you can transform your company?

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