A lot has changed in the business world following the Internet boom almost two decades ago. It’s been said frequently that all businesses are now technology businesses, like it or not. From the IT perspective, we see significant philosophical and operational differences between companies that were around before the internet boom vs. those that got started during and after. It’s logical to expect that the IT challenges for a post-internet boom company like Netflix differ greatly compared to General Electric.
Leaders need to be clear not only in how IT is operating in their organizations but also how it should be working for future success and aligning to business strategy. The characteristics of post-internet boom companies highlight clear challenges and opportunities.
For example, software development companies are finding that they spend increasing time in operational tasks competing with their directive to provide more company differentiation. In addition, infrastructure and governance aspects are scattered around various areas within the company creating significant inefficiencies.
Mature organizations now operate with a better understanding of the appropriate use of infrastructure as a service, like cloud, and recognize that a decentralized set of common skills, processes and infrastructure technologies is not the most efficient way to continue operating. Now there is a huge opportunity to integrate IT more deeply into the business with the goal of creating efficiencies in common skills, process and technologies across business organizations with the development of common platforms and services.
Successful and forward-thinking IT infrastructure organizations must continue to benchmark their progress, augment skills and reorganize around more agile and software-oriented practices. For example: adopt machine learning capabilities to facilitate continual improvement, invest in automation skills to increase deployment velocity and adopt a “rapid recovery” philosophy over a “prevent every failure scenario” attitude.
When that happens, organizations will finally be able to achieve the goal that everybody was so excited about in the early 80s and the boom of the 90s: to unlock efficiencies, drive differentiation and unleash business innovation.