Many companies are now adopting the motto of 'digital-first', the SDE will adopt the motto 'externally-first'. The leader of the SDE will expect their colleagues to always investigate and evaluate the offerings of external service providers that are able to meet the needs of their users before deciding to build the service themselves.
By looking externally-first the SDE will ensure that anything it decides to build and operate itself will deliver a comparable user experience, be equal or superior to the standards of an external service provider, and will be delivered at a competitive cost.
The SDE will transform itself into an organisation that recognises that the business has multiple options when sourcing business IT services, from core server and storage capacity to the business applications and data used throughout the organisation.
Like the ISP, ESP or SaaS provider, the SDE will recognise that the customer experience is everything. Like the Managed Service Provider, the SDE will also understand that adopting best practice architectures and operating processes is the most effective way to adopt and operate technology that make great experiences deliverable at a price point the business is willing to fund.
And like a major outsourcer, the SDE will realise that doing everything themselves is simply not an option. It will recognise that to identify, integrate and manage a number of service providers into one unified service is the only way to make the business believe that 'one contract' with the 'IT' department is a practical and sustainable long-term option.
This service centric approach will help the CIO focus every action on delivering what the business wants most: a transformative user-centric experience built using services from the most appropriate source.
In adopting this SDE agenda, the delivery of services becomes paramount. And in a new world where the SDE is only building and operating a fraction of the services the business uses, it must position itself as the trusted conduit for all technology-based service delivery.
Once this transformation is complete, the SDE will gain greater influence and control over the services and sources the organisation chooses to develop its technology-based services portfolio. And it will work with more and more service providers, and be responsible for managing more service layers and contracts than ever before. This will make the SDE considerably more relevant and valuable to the business than the IT department was perceived to be before the transformation had begun.
The route towards a Service Defined Enterprise is one that every CIO will follow, and some will lead. It's a journey of transformation that leads to a more responsive and cost-efficient IT department, greater agility, a more competitive business model, and a richer user experience.
Ultimately, for the CIO and the IT department, the Service Defined Enterprise could be more than a plan for the future.
It could be a plan for survival.
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