For Australian CIOs in the fast lane, it’s time to shift gears.
As new technologies and shifting business operating models change the role of IT, CIOs are balancing demands - keeping the lights on while being pulled by digital’s fast-moving influence to establish new market and revenue streams.
Yet the negativity associated with multi-tasking remains, forcing decision makers to choose between keeping everything running and pursing new opportunities.
The answer in 2016 however, is not choosing.
“Today IT organisations are focused on multi-speed IT,” Accenture Australia and New Zealand technology lead, Jane Livesey, said. “This means enhancing the old whilst embracing the new.”
Livesey said the notion of moving from legacy to becoming digital is achieved by bringing together a network of skills, instituting a dynamic operating model and installing flexible governance models.
While the challenge is great, the reward for the CIO is a pivotal role in an organisation’s strategic business agenda.
“They are focused on how to get the most out of their existing systems and make them more open and accessible through examples like migrating to the cloud and delivering cost efficiencies,” she added.
“In order to successfully achieve this, businesses must work in parallel to support the fast-paced delivery of digital and analytics solutions that can enhance and improve customer experience.”
Livesey’s sentiment is shared across the country by executives who believe the IT organisation needs to broaden its scope and keep pace with evolving needs of the business, citing simultaneous operation to support multiple objectives.
With businesses now consuming IT at several speeds at once, Livesey said two speeds are no longer enough for the modern organisation, a reality that is starting to play out in the boardrooms of Australia.
“We’ve seen a significant shift in the attitude of organisations over the last 18 months,” Livesey observed.
“A year ago, many organisations were in an experimentation phase with new and emerging technology - they were behind their global counterparts.
“All of sudden however, we seem to have leap-frogged to leading the way in many sectors and are now seeing enterprise scale programs that are delivering true benefit to Australian citizens and consumers.”
Despite the upturn however, Livesey cautioned that execution continues to challenge the enterprise.
“Many organisations are still grappling with how to improve key aspects of their end-to-end delivery processes e.g. enhancing the time-to-market of new products and services,” she acknowledged.
Likewise, challenges continue to surface for system integrators as a result, with customers now expecting partners to focus on business outcomes, and how to utilise teams to effectively achieve those outcomes.
“Partners can also help by being flexible and part of the disruption, be it predictively or reactively when opportunities arise,” Livesey advised.
“They should be bringing new ideas, different methods of delivery to support agility and a teaming approach that is underpinned by commercial models that are aligned to the achievement of key business priorities.”
In leading the Technology Group on both sides of the Tasman, Livesey - who previously ran the company’s regional Oracle practice - said that in addition to core applications and digital solutions, Accenture’s technology focus is based around automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.
“Each day, together with our clients, we are challenging ourselves to leverage the latest technologies to drive efficiency and free up the resources that can focus on strategies and solutions to support and create market differentiation,” she added.
Accenture - which acquired Melbourne-based Oracle partner, Redcore, in August - operates as a technology agnostic partner, spanning a range of industries including financial services, health and media.
In managing a portfolio of customers which include the National Broadband Network, NSW Department for Human Services and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Livesey said Accenture now operates in a market where “everyone is buying technology”.
“It’s omnipresent and that’s why it’s integral for partners today to have a deep understanding of the business strategy in line with changing digital trends,” she added.
“In many organisations, there is a natural tension when it comes to balancing the desired speed of getting products and service to market versus the availability of technology resources and budget to support all the legacy programs.
“Partners play a critical role in deciphering how to deliver efficiency and help free up the required resources to support innovation and new programs.
“They also need to be realistic that there is a limit of capacity in many instances and learn to work around these limitations.”
Role of the SI
In today’s world, Livesey said there is no program of work being delivered within an organisation that does not incorporate the use and efficiency of technology.
Consequently, businesses are investing in sending executive teams on study tours to Silicon Valley and the large technology centres in places such as India and the Philippines, while leaders also educate themselves to ensure a strong understanding of what is available.
“You have to learn to either keep up or be counted out by the modern customer,” Livesey warned. “The days of a customer handing a binder of requirements to the system integrator to build a system based on are gone.
“Today, system integrators are working hand-in-hand with their clients to use design-led thinking and new delivery methods to assess new requirements and demands on a daily basis.
“We have had to re-train out teams and bring new methods and tools to support new ways of delivery, so it’s a continuous education process.”
Yet for Livesey, the skills and resource needs are expansive.
“We need today a greater cross-section of skills to rethink, create and deliver flexible and adaptable solutions,” she added.
“Digital fluency and a desire to embrace technology and compliment it with the natural skillsets and abilities of the human workforce are also integral to success.”
Looking ahead, Livesey said the most disruptive force impacting the Australian channel continues to be the “pace of change” and the speed that new technology is being made available.
“We are constantly learning, evolving and trying to keep pace, which makes our role more dynamic, exciting and opportunistic than ever before,” she added.
But as cloud, big data, security and analytics come to the fore, many partners remain trapped by an inability to maximise new revenue opportunities.
“For any solution you need to work out what problem it is going to solve and what business outcome it can deliver,” Livesey advised.
“Too often, people get bogged down by simply isolating the technology, function or process problem.
“The key is to remember the bigger picture and align your strategy to achieving it, the technology, people and resources that all become powerful enablers of this strategic vision.”
This article originally appeared in the September issue of ARN magazine - to subscribe, please click here