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How to not become 'the last video store on the street'

Divina Paredes | Oct. 6, 2015
A Victoria University of Wellington forum distils key lessons for enterprises, IT managers, and their teams on how to respond to the accelerated pace of IT change.

Two years ago, managers have to be flexible and adjust to change. It was about being ready for contingencies.

“We are moving away from a contingency model, where we just adjust from time to time.

Today, managers have to address at the same time conflicting demands. These demands arrive at any time.

For instance, amidst the demand for seamless and flawless services, there is the demand to enable experimentation, and quick failure to trigger innovation.

“We are trying to protect information at the same time we are moving towards open innovation,” explained Aubert.

“If you are in IT, you are always dealing with those demands that don’t fit together. It means that for managers, your strategic plan and how you organise your IT resources becomes a very hard challenge.”

He said that for some, whatever they pick, they are going to be bitten on the other side. “So start thinking differently and thinking about this paradox that enables us to serve conflicting goals at the same time.”

Driving toward digitalisation

IT has been fundamental to much of the disruption across any industry, said Ian Clarke of Fronde, a member of the advisory council of Victoria University. “We need to turn IT on its head.”

Clarke said the current situation includes legacy IT that is soaking the budget for keeping lights on. There are also limited funds available for front office systems and digital channels.

Meanwhile, digital transformation is being demanded by consumers, who have multiple devices at their fingertips. “The value chain of discover, inform, understand, purchase, deliver, and renew is online and mobile,” he explained. “There is less emphasis on procurement and back office systems.”

The drive is towards digital business, according to Clarke.

The focus is on the front office adding true value to your business; building and matching what consumers want.

He added that, “We have to provide richer services to our clients, where they want to consume it and how they want to consume it.

“Back office systems must be simpler. IT platforms need to be scalable.”.

Underpinning this is this drive for user experience that will define the IT infrastructure, said Clarke.

He stressed that when you have a lot of change you adopt a lot of techniques to support that change. “Make the change when you recognise you need to is a good approach.”

According to Clarke, some factors to keep in mind are that clients have shorter and shorter refresh cycles as they respond to competitive threats, the advance of consumer devices, and the way people want to consume services.

He said managing this change requires a delicate balance when an IT organisation needs a fresh new leadership and a new direction.

 

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