Opinion and Analysis
Run ICT like a business for success
Over the past couple years I have interacted with a lot of ICT Executives, both locally and globally. From these interactions, it is very clear that the corporate ICT leadership role is transforming from a technology-focused role to a business-oriented role.
Globally, more than before, IT leaders are now spending more time interacting with business managers, board of directors and in some cases customers.
What does this transformation mean for the ICT leadership in Kenya companies? How can they prepare for this transformation?
Without doubt, it is very clear that consumers across East Africa have become increasingly dependent on technology.
This dependency is forcing businesses to change the way they interact with consumers and it’s leading to increased pressure on ICT leadership.
In most companies, ICT departments have always operated as a business support function with the main responsibility of supplying technology services to the business.
These include developing applications and systems, infrastructure and network support and project management.
The fast changing technology and business environment is forcing local ICT departments to transform from support functions to strategic business enablers.
This transformation process will require ICT to become a business partner who understands the business strategy and plays a vital role in driving revenue growth and competitive growth through innovation.
For example, if a banking institution is thinking of launching a mobile banking service, ICT should be involved from the idea stage to go live stage. ICT should play a bigger role in the whole process and not be limited to technology advisers. ICT should be part of the business strategy development team driving the new product.
Can the current ICT operating model sustain business models of the future?
According to a study conducted by The Corporate Executive Board titled “The Future of Corporate IT: How to Prepare for Five Radical Shifts in IT Value, Ownership and Role”, the ICT function of 2015 will be very different from the IT function of 2010.
The current ICT operating model won’t adequately support future business models. ICT has to undergo major transformation to align their operating model with the changing technological landscape including mobility, cloud computing and analytics.
ICT departments need to be run like a business. Like any business, ICT will need to determine the demand for ICT services and supply such services at an optimal level.
This approach will require a fundamental shift in how ICT is built, run, delivered and consumed within a company.
To manage this transformation, from a leadership perspective, ICT leaders need to understand and communicate the role of ICT in delivering tangible business value and market competitiveness; then they need to develop metrics which measure, monitor and communicate the on-going strategic and operational value of IT to the business.
Finally they need to develop and maintain a dynamic, business-driven IT strategic plan which supports on-going Business alignment.
Strategically, ICT departments should develop ICT strategies that are dynamic in all aspects to reflect changing external influences and on-going operational feedback.
Makatiani is founder and chief consultant at Serianu, an IT services and business consulting firm.