In part one of "Four trends reshaping corporate IT departments," Andrew Horne discussed two trends reshaping corporate IT roles: information over process and IT embedded in the business services. Horne, managing director at CEB, also laid out five IT roles CIOs must cultivate to keep corporate IT relevant in the information age. Here, he takes on the second two trends reshaping corporate IT roles and the all-important sixth IT skill that should be on every CIO's radar.
Trend No. 3: Greater business partner responsibility
Business unit and functional leaders (heads of sales, marketing, operations, R&D, etc.) are seeking greater ownership of technology decisions that affect their strategies and objectives. Some 75% of business leaders have previous experience as IT project sponsors, and many feel they need less help from IT than in the past. This shift is being encouraged by vendors eager to make sales that bypass corporate IT.
The impact on IT roles and skills can be summed up as "educate and integrate." The traditional business liaison role will require a different posture. People in liaison roles will need the knowledge and confidence to challenge business partners, educating them about how technology can support business strategy while pushing back on technology decisions that are risky or otherwise ill-conceived. They will also act as "buyer's agents," providing counsel to business leaders as they interact with vendors and cloud providers. Because not all business partners want the same level of responsibility, it's important to tailor the support IT provides to each senior executive.
End users also want more autonomy. The "bring your own device," or BYOD, trend is the first sign of this, but users will increasingly rely on their own, externally provided apps, social networks and sources of data.
As business partners and end users obtain more technology for themselves, integration will become more important. We have already seen progressive organizations establish dedicated integration teams or competency centers. For the same reasons, demand for security and audit roles should rise.
More CEB insights on forces shaping corporate IT departments
Trend No. 4: Externalized service delivery
CEB expects to see a majority of organizations make at least some use of the public cloud by the end of 2013, and our recent survey of infrastructure heads found that most expect the remaining barriers to public cloud adoption to come down by 2014. This change is another factor behind the rise of the buyer's agent and integration roles mentioned above. The change will also lead to fewer delivery roles within corporate IT. For example, demand for software developers and systems administrators may decline by 80% or more. These roles won't disappear from the economy; they will simply migrate from corporate IT groups to external providers.
CEB action plan
The speed and scope of these changes mean CIOs cannot rely solely on hiring to fill IT's emerging skills needs. A good first step is to develop a multi-year skills strategy. The strategy should identify which skills and roles will be needed when, and assign responsibility to specific IT leaders for the necessary coaching, development and recruitment activities.
Many organizations are now working on their 2013 strategic plans, so this is a good time to get started on a skills strategy. Including a skills strategy in the overall IT strategic plan creates a tight link between organizational goals and skills needs and ensures the involvement of the IT leadership team as a whole.
Andrew Horne is managing director at CEB's information technology practice.