Amazon disrupted the retail industry with a new business model and Uber is doing it now to ground transportation. The Dodd Frank legislation for Banking, and ACA for the Healthcare industry altered the way these businesses are run. Tools for Web 2.0, Open source and mobile are replacing traditional IT technologies.
These changing business models, processes, and technologies are a given in our work environments.
As a professional, are you adapting to the changes in the business and your function and capitalizing on the new opportunities these changes create?
EVOLUTION OF IN-HOUSE IT ORGANIZATION
To illustrate the changes in a function and also the opportunities it created, let’s trace how in-house IT organizations of large US companies have evolved, and the impact it has had on the roles and skills required to be successful.
In the late 90’s, in house IT was (for the most part) was housed in a single location and co-located with its business users. In person interaction was high as was cultural homogeneity. Program specifications, change requests, and code acceptances were often discussed over the wall of a cubicle.
This changed first with the inflow of immigrant nationals into the IT teams. This diverse ethnic group did not share the nuances and implicit messages of a shared culture. Effectiveness at work now required more explicit communication of expectations and outcomes.
Following this was the re-location of large teams to lower cost locations, first within, and subsequently outside the country. Enhanced process rigor was needed to successfully deliver a program, with precision & detail in specifications, and the ability to articulate them clearly for multi-location teams.
Today, large chunks of work are outsourced to third parties. Derivatively, the role of the in – house IT organization has changed. It is now more concentrated on the end points – the up-front understanding of business requirements, and the tail end integration of output from its diverse teams.
NEW SKILLS, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Through this evolution, the roles and skills required to be successful in the in-house IT organization have evolved as well. Professionals working here need to now be more aware of the business dynamics of their company, demonstrate higher process rigor, engage with global teams, and be able to ensure & integrate deliverables from multiple entities.
This evolution created new roles and opportunities. These are for roles which bring intimate knowledge of the business into IT, or integrate program output from diverse sources, or know how to allocate work to the diverse, multi-location entities for most effective output.
Summarized in the table below are some key changes which have occurred in the responsibilities and skills required from different roles.
||Program requirements and delivery
||Business engagement & requirements. Brand building for the IT organization
||Domain knowledge of the business, and its success factors
||Project architecture & design
||Technology and process innovation to impact business results
||Knowledge of business processes, outcomes, and regulations
||Integrate deliverables from a co – located entity
||System integration of output from globally dispersed groups. Process rigor
||Awareness of multi- cultural nuances, communication, and customs
||Iterative design, coding and specs. Frequent informal reviews
||Detailed, documented specs & test plans. Formal checkpoints
||Agile scrums for speedier output
||Run day to day local operations
||Oversight of global operations and focus on escalation management
THE FINAL WORD
With the passage of time, businesses, their processes, ways of delivery, & the skills required will evolve and change. In every industry, there is another Amazon or Uber in the horizon, or new regulations which will alter the way of doing business, or technologies which will make the current ones obsolete.
Watch – As professionals, we need to be alert to these changes, how roles are going to evolve, and what new roles or opportunities the change will create.
Respond – Proactively acquire new skills and adapt to the changes and opportunities. This ongoing learning is crucial to professional success, and even to employability.
Succeed – Making a focused endeavor to upgrade your skills, capitalize on the new opportunities created by the changes in your organization and industry.
Written by: Sanjay Gupta