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    The Four Futures for IT and CIOs

    The changing shape of IT is causing CIOs to question the role of IT in the organization and the part they will play in it, according to Gartner, Inc. As businesses confront global economic uncertainty, changing market dynamics and cultural discontinuities created by technological innovation, their different parts require different ways of interacting with IT.

    “We are witnessing the emergence of a new generation of CIOs, one that aims not so much to ‘run’ IT as to ensure that the business achieves strategic value from the use of technology,” said John Mahoney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Although this isn’t an entirely new development, the extent of the change is growing and a tipping point will be reached in the next five years.”

    Gartner has identified four dominant futures for IT in the organization. They are not mutually exclusive and may exist in combination.

    Gartner said that these new CIOs will play an important role in identifying the required future of the IT organization, and that they must ensure senior IT stakeholders are involved from the outset, so that their support is guaranteed. These CIOs will then be able to identify how their role will change and start planning a personal road map.

    The Four Futures for IT and CIOs - slide 1

    Click through for four dominant futures of IT, as identified by Gartner.

    The Four Futures for IT and CIOs - slide 2

    In this scenario, the IT organization is an expanded and integrated shared-service unit that runs like a business, delivering IT services and enterprise business processes. It is virtually or fully centralized, focuses on business areas and business value, adopts a marketing perspective, capitalizes on its internal position and delivers competitive services.

    The Four Futures for IT and CIOs - slide 3

    In this scenario, IT capabilities are delivered rapidly at market-competitive prices. The IT organization succeeds by monitoring technology and market developments, and building expertise in IT asset optimization, sourcing and vendor management, and IT financial management. It delivers ongoing cost improvements, looks for new ways to deliver the same IT capabilities for less, and is highly responsive to changing business needs.

    The Four Futures for IT and CIOs - slide 4

    In this scenario, information is the business’s explicit product or at least is inseparable from its product. The business is structured around information flow (not process or function) and the IT organization innovates within the value chain, rather than just enabling the supporting services found in every business.

    The Four Futures for IT and CIOs - slide 5

    In this scenario, business leaders and individual contributors use information and technology aggressively to break through traditional business perimeters and drive ambitious collaboration. The focus is on information, rather than technology. Highly mature businesses embrace this divergent model for its collaborative and innovative potential. While traditionalists may see anarchy in this type of approach, others see liberated creativity. For this reason, this model works in non-traditional situations such as dynamic businesses, startups and R&D/entrepreneurial/community ventures.

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