Digitization is transforming large swaths of the business landscape. Seizing the opportunities and managing the risks that emerge demand a range of capabilities across the enterprise. One of the most critical is optimized IT. IT supports all business functions and is a key enabler of the speed and agility necessary for digital success. Yet many IT organizations remain mired in predigital-era thinking and practices. As a result, they may be failing to meet the business’s expanding needs, at a cost to both the company and their position within it.
IT organizations, led by the CIO, need to rethink their value proposition in light of today’s digital realities. Specifically, they need to consider developing a “second gear,” one focused on the company’s digital efforts and capable of operating at digital speed. Achieving this while continuing to support the business in its customary role may be a tall order for many IT organizations. It will necessitate rethinking how the IT function is organized and governed. It will also entail significantly retooling its capabilities. But the payoff for successfully transforming IT in this manner, both to the IT organization and to the company as a whole, stands to be vast.
What might that payoff look like? Consider the real-world example of a bank that recently upgraded its webpage. Users’ reaction on Facebook and Twitter was unanimous—they did not like it. The bank responded immediately. By the end of the week, it had made a range of changes to the site based on customers’ feedback, winning itself praise for both its willingness to listen and its quick response. The bank’s ability to execute in this manner was no fluke. It was enabled by an IT organization that had consciously developed a second speed, one much faster than the normal pace of IT delivery.