IT In Crisis – Three Priorities for IT in 2010. Part 1

Updated: January 27, 2010

This is not your Father's IT

The first challenge I call "Your Father's IT", or better yet, "Your Grandfather's IT"We live in an age where technology is advancing at phenomenal rates. However, companies are slow to adopt these new technologies. The biggest reason is quite simply, legacy IT staff doesn't know what to do with them! They are stuck in old IT paradigms and can't see how their IT world could be improved with new technologies.

Old IT paradigms are the biggest obstacle to capitalizing on new technologies

In order to adopt new technologies IT has to think outside the legacy IT box. They have to be willing to redefine what IT can become. Let's look at IT Consumerization as an example; Consumerization is the ability for business professionals to use their personal smart phones and other smart devices at their workplace. Today, the "Your Fathers IT" reaction is "No Way! This technology is a security risk and cannot be allowed into the workplace". However, organizations with "New IT" paradigms will look at the new capabilities and determine how (or if) the devices can make their company more competitive. If so, they will find ways to secure the technology and make it work for them. I'm not suggesting all new technologies be implemented. I'm suggesting the IT industry gravitate to a new paradigm; a mindset that is determined to evaluate how new technologies will, or won't, benefit their business.

Today, legacy "Your Father's IT" waits until the technology is released and the bugs worked out. Eventually they evaluate the technology then fund and finally implement. I've seen this process take up to twenty four months. That's two years without the business benefits offered by the technology. This mindset can cost a company millions of dollars over that twenty four month period. Imagine your competitors reaping the cost benefits and efficiencies of new technologies while your legacy IT is stuck in a wait and see mode of operation.

Companies who have adopted the "New IT" paradigm will be delivering value propositions to the business before new technologies are formally released. Successful companies won't wait to deploy new technologies until current technology reaches end of life. They'll do it when there's a compelling business case to do so.

So how does a company break out of the legacy IT paradigm? How do they change their current mode of operation? Can a company teach their Legacy IT new tricks? Can a company's culture adapt to a "New IT" paradigm without external pressures? What can push a company out of its "Old IT" patterns that are so comfortable today? I am convinced that if companies do not adapt to "New IT" paradigms they will not survive the next decade. However, changing paradigms and corporate cultures can be an impossible task. One doesn't merely decide one day that their IT will think and behave differently from now on.

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