It was always inevitable. If we ever solved the business technology alignment problem, as we were told so many times over the decades, we’d reach optimization nirvana. Is this the end of IT? Yes. It’s 2015, and everyone’s a chief information officer, or, more accurately, everyone’s a chief business intelligence officer. While your infrastructure hums in the cloud, all eyes are on strategic technology and the businesses now directly responsible — and accountable — for business technology optimization.
The enterprise CIO is gone. The historical responsibilities of the office of the CIO have been distributed to the COO/CAO and the lines of business. Operational technology — which supports all of your company’s basic computing and communications activities — serves all of the functional areas as well as all of the lines of business. Strategic technology is business-specific and therefore located in the lines of business.
The professionals who optimize operational and strategic technology are very different people. Rather than impose a one-size-fits-all approach on business technology staffing, enterprises in 2015 will seek the best people to do the things they’re bred to do. Operational technologists will be knowledgeable about computing and communications infrastructures and architectures and — especially — the acquisition and management of operational services. The teams that acquire, deploy, and manage operational technology will possess deep skills and capabilities in cloud computing, vendor management, and performance monitoring. They will also contribute to the definition and implementation of the enterprise applications/communications/data architecture used to keep everyone on the same architectural page.
The professionals who optimize strategic technology will have wide and deep expertise in business process modeling (BPM), business analysis, requirements prioritization, competitor intelligence, enterprise architecture, and innovation, among all things business. They will be responsible for selecting, deploying, and supporting strategic applications through a provider network that’s optimized through coordination with operational technology providers and governed by architecture.
The budget process here is straightforward. The operational technology budget is funded by a tax across the entire enterprise — functional areas and lines of business. The tax should be proportionate to usage. Strategic technology is funded by the lines of business. There should be no pitched battles over operational budgeting. Strategic budgeting is localized. Lines of business can prioritize their spending internally and develop their own discretionary/nondiscretionary budget categories. Governance will be shared among the lines of business, operational technology managers, and technology providers. One enterprise organization will be established to oversee architectural standards and acquisition best practices.