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Technology Capability Build

Does your technology organization have the capabilities to deliver business value today and in the future? Where should you be investing finite IT resources—in maintaining infrastructure or delivering new business capabilities? In managing risk or preparing for change? The answer to these questions is often “both.” A two-speed approach to IT capabilities can address these priorities and more.

Most companies have many competing IT priorities. Organizations need to maintain foundational infrastructure that is reliable, highly available, and flexible. Yet they also need to use technology to innovate and support business change. At the same time, they need to protect the corporate assets from a security and risk perspective.

In addition, as technology changes the business world, technology skills become more important. Yet the supply of critical skills often doesn’t keep pace with demand. Consequently, companies find themselves in a war for technology talent.

These challenges call for a two-speed approach to IT that can accommodate different priorities and strategies. Industrial speed is the optimized speed at which IT, in its customary role, can deliver service to the business. Digital speed is the speed necessary to enable and drive the company’s digital agenda; it enables agile responses to changing business requirements. Each speed requires different capabilities, processes, metrics, and skill sets.

Against this backdrop, finding the right answers can be difficult. Given finite resources, what should our top investment priorities be?

Technology & Digital

Building Digital and Technology Capabilities

Takeaways for CIOs

How do you decide where to focus your efforts over the next several years? Here are six points to keep in mind:

  1. Walk before you run. Before looking at future-focus capabilities, look at the table-stakes capabilities and determine where your company stands on each. If you identify gaps in maturity, narrow them before moving forward.
  2. Pay attention to innovation. Innovation management is now a table-stakes capability. This says a lot about the changing role of IT and what CIOs are expected to deliver today, not in some distant future.
  3. Find the right people. The war for talent isn’t coming; it’s already here. A well-developed people asset management capability is essential. Having the right people onboard, managing them well, and providing them with an environment that supports personal growth are critical to the success of IT.
  4. Don’t lose momentum. Continue to maintain “deprioritized” capabilities, but do not invest too heavily in them.
  5. Keep an eye on the other guy. Many of your peers are actively pushing the envelope in developing future-focus capabilities, positioning their companies for greater competitive success and themselves for more strategic roles within those companies—or, very possibly, within yours.
  6. Take the pulse of IT. If you haven’t yet conducted an IT capability maturity framework (IT-CMF) assessment, do so. IT-CMF is designed to help IT organizations maximize their contribution to business value. It segments the activities of a company’s IT function into four macroprocesses—managing IT like a business, managing the IT budget, managing the IT capability, and managing IT for business value—each of which incorporates multiple processes (32 in all). IT-CMF assesses each of these processes to identify performance gaps and help managers understand which key processes might benefit from a more in-depth examination.

Taking the Steps Toward a Digital Transformation

One of the best ways for a corporation to quickly change its organization and processes to compete in today’s digital realm is to engage with start-ups. In this way, BCG’s Thomas Gumsheimer explains, a corporation cannot only diversify its portfolio but also learn how start-ups operate and how their employees interact—and can then adapt this collaboration into the overall corporate culture.

Technology & Digital
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