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Sleeping with one eye open: How to future-proof IT for 2030

Jenny Beresford | Sept. 22, 2016
To survive for more than a decade, or even dream of still being in existence by 2030, businesses need to keep the revolution on fire within

Digital natives like Alibaba, Tencent, Amazon and Google have attained market dominance through imagination, speed and courage. Agility is in their DNA. Their cultural provenance makes them acutely aware that newness and prescience is their differentiator.

This also makes them slightly ‘paranoid.’ They know that they must always continue to challenge the status quo; keep surprising their customers and competitors; and fiercely guard their leading edge. They must sleep with one eye open.

Many highly successful digital businesses are already asking: ‘what’s next?’ What’s beyond bimodal IT, cloud services and DevOps? Will agile principles and practices, high performing teams and adaptive servant leadership sustain the successful digital business model through the next decade, as we shift our collective ‘strategic planning’ horizons to 2030?

It’s on the minds of the hyper-speed digital startups snapping at their heels, pioneering public sector digital services and organisations that are ‘digital chameleons’ with the courage, foresight and imagination to reinvent and reorient themselves to compete in disrupted markets.

Some of these ‘A-type’ enterprises are now performing at the highest aspirations of agile maturity, already operating beyond bimodal (two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery – one focused on stability and the other on agility).

To survive for more than a decade, or even dream of still being in existence by 2030, businesses need to keep the revolution on fire within. They must continually challenge status quo to sustain their lead; attract and retain stellar talent; compel the following of loyal customers and partners; and keep on generating new ideas and products that surprise their markets.

What are the implications for post-bimodal delivery, talent, leadership and innovation platforms? The answer is not certain, but will evolve through nurturing enterprise diversity, humanism, anthropology and creativity to complement their mastery of science and technology. The economics of connections augmented by human aspiration and imagination.

CIOs and their teams should think like futurists – to look back, extrapolate economic and societal mega trends, and creatively develop scenarios for the future of IT in digital business.

Futurist thinking is not science fiction, but an extrapolation of movements we see around us today. ‘The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed’ is a popular explanation.

The speed at which new products, services and enterprises can rise and flourish in a connected digital economy demonstrates that you probably can’t be too imaginative, nor too provocative, when creating possible scenarios for your business model.

Stretch a long way and then work backwards to the reality of today. What are the gaps? What are the social, political, natural and economic catalysts that would take your enterprise in one direction or another? Where are the forks – decision points – in the road? What might your business model look like?


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