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Positive Technology Disruption By @ABridgwater | @CloudExpo [#IoT #Cloud]

New IT services can start to become ‘business drivers’ rather than simply showing up as costs in the CFO’s profit & loss sheet

The Economic Laws of Positive Technology Disruption

The list of ‘new paradigm' technologies that now surrounds us appears to be at an all time high. From cloud computing and Big Data analytics to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT), today we have to deal with what the industry likes to call ‘paradigm shifts' at every level of IT.

This is disruption; of course, we understand that - change is almost always disruptive.

But this is positive disruption where we have the ability to change the very nature of our IT asset structure. That is to say, new IT services (and even new technology-empowered workflow methods) can start to become ‘business drivers' rather than simply showing up as costs in the CFO's profit and loss sheet.

Build Your Own Disruption Barometer (BYODB)
Of course it's not that simple. We can't simply say that new IT represents positive disruption and is therefore all good news.

Firms need to start developing their own graduated barometer to evaluate what changes to implement and when to make them.

Say there's a new wide-ranging industry-specific technology shift that impacts an explicit business vertical. Is it a good idea to ride that positive disruption wave or not? Let's take the legal trade and the new use of Big Data analytics to number crunch through case files.

A legal firm using its own disruption barometer here should recognize that this is case of stormy weather ahead; but this is a storm that needs to be ridden through. Data analytics in law and medicine (and many ‘traditional' trades) is fast becoming a prerequisite. So yes this is almost certainly a good idea and the firm may want to play ‘early adopter' or at least ‘second stage intensifier' depending on its corporate personality.

You start to get the idea, it's all about how you harness change and get on the front of the wave to ride out the storm.

The Chief Digital Officer Emerges
Increasingly this decision comes down to the IT leader, but this person is perhaps not always the CIO or the CTO. The emergence of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) might require an additional key to the C-suite washroom, but it is a role worth creating.

With a CDO firms are creating a special new role in terms of someone who understands business outcomes as much as he or she understands software application development (or at least what the code is supposed to achieve) today.

The Chief Digital Officer's role today revolves around IT value. Specifically, what does this really mean? The CDO has to be able to read the disruption barometer, decide how to ride the storm and be able to assess outcomes and future direction for the firm as a result of actions taken.

If a new breed of smart mobile devices needs to be implemented for all field workers, then to what degree does their cost investment create a measurable business effect on the bottom line? If plant manufacturing equipment needs to be fitted with new Internet of Things-style monitoring sensors, does a tangible reduction in maintenance costs occur?

In other words, if new IT comes in, what outcome comes out?

There are temporal caveats here:

  • Cost reductions resulting from IT investment don't happen overnight, this means that a time-analysis element needs to feature.
  • Next-generation IT investment may affect business outcomes at secondary (or even third level) layers of the business, i.e., if customers are better-served through IT investment, their initial reaction is just greater brand satisfaction - it is LATER that they start to increase their spending as a result of brand loyalty.
  • A more intelligent IT-enabled business starts to earn industry kudos and carry increased gravitas over time. Partners, supply chain connections and industry bodies start to create a virtuous business circle (possibly enriched by social media) around a firm performing with better outcomes. But it takes time.

Action, Facilitation and Deployment
To be practical then - not every firm will have a Chief Digital Officer. Not every small to medium-sized business (and there are some large firms in this category) will have a dedicated Chief Information or Technology Officer. But even if a firm doesn't designate a CDO role, it will always have a leader or collective steering group of some form.

Whatever leadership proposition a firm has in place, it must now affect a cultural change to embrace technology as a business enabler.

CEOs where they do exist need to realize that they are the CEOs of an IT business.

  • CEOs of baked goods companies are the CEO of an IT business.
  • CEOs of holiday tour guide companies are the CEO of an IT business.
  • CEOs of plumbing firms are the CEO of an IT business.
  • ...And yes, CEOs of software companies are the CEO of an IT business.

New skills sets will need to be learned and new levels of technical proficiency will need to be developed by some workers. Crucially, though, new workflow methods will often need to be developed.

Disruption is indeed all about change, but if we understand the economic laws of positive technology disruption then we can capture the energy of the storm and harness it for business gain.

This post is sponsored by KPMG LLP and The CIO Agenda.

KPMG LLP is a Delaware limited liability partnership and is the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and "cutting through complexity" are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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