Transform your IT Department to being a digital and IT innovation broker

IT innovation broker
Are you able to transform your IT Department from a ‘service’ focus to being a digital and IT innovation broker?  When the organisation as a whole recognises the value of their investments in digital and IT systems, magic happens.

This occurs when the business recognises IT’s contribution as being much more than just delivering stable and predictable core business systems.

The traditional model of enterprise IT revolved around ‘aligning’ IT’s mission to ‘support’ business goals is failing organisations that are having to deal with rapid changes in customer needs or nimble and adaptive competitors.  Problem with this strategic approach is that IT’s abilities to contribute to building an innovation capability is limited.  In other words, can you  see past the ‘IT-business alignment’ paradigm to realise your organisation’s innovation goals? .

IT innovation broker – Moving beyond IT Service delivery

In this mix are the seemingly limitless rivers of opinions and predictions about what shape the ‘services’ consumed by the organisation could or should take. Turbocharged by the advent of Cloud, with the trifecta of Infrastructure, Platform and Software ‘as a Service’ underpinning this delivery model, the ‘Service’ moniker is now fully embodied in the lexicon of enterprise IT.

All well and good, however in our volatile, disrupted and globally hyper-connected world, the use of the word ‘Service’ when referring to adoption of enterprise technologies, is missing the real value that modern technologies can offer astute organisations.

To start this discussion, consider what is implied in the word ‘Service’.  The Oxford dictionary defines Service as ” The action of helping or doing work for someone”.

‘Service’ implies subservience, and is intrinsic to the Master and Servant relationship. In many instances, that’s not where enterprise IT should allow itself to be restrained or pigeon-holed.

The reality is that modern digital technologies have let the disruptive innovation genie is out of the bottle, never to be returned. Organisations that fail to successfully transform their IT departments to being organisationally relevant, adaptable and a true peer to the business are missing the transformative potential for innovation that technology can deliver.

Therein lies the real challenge for Boards of organisations and their executive management teams to take a step back and question their approach to true technology enabled innovation.  If this capability is not engrained into the fabric of the various management systems and incentive schemes across the enterprise, chances are their competition is already doing so.

Put another way – Can your business transformation or innovation initiatives really succeed without IT’s input and close involvement?

There are a few foundational factors to consider in this discussion of shifting from an IT services to an Innovation broker:


No two industries are the same. No two businesses are the same.  Context is king – for today at least. Tomorrow it may be different.

  • For organisations that have a negligible to low reliance on enterprise IT may be making the right decision in treating IT purely as a cost centre, to be minimised and kept out of harms way – for the moment, at least.
  • On the other end of the scale, where enterprise IT is either the raison d’être for, or underpins every aspect of the organisation, enterprise technology is anything but a cost centre.

In either instance, the underlying threat to the organisation remains – that being in able to maintain relevance in a fast moving technologically disrupted and globally hyper-connected world.  The business case for ensuring that IT has the business nous and engagement capability to transform its value proposition to being an IT innovation broker.

IT-Business alignment is so last century!

IT-business alignment is not the end goal – effective, close coupled coordination, supported by a clearly articulated and acknowledged shared accountabilities between IT and influential organisational stakeholders is.  This is especially relevant in business environments undergoing change.  The shift should be towards IT’s capabilities of becoming a business relevant IT innovation broker.

There is a growing school of thought that the innovation economy is already emerging from the current knowledge economy. Based on the knowledge economy, the defining attributes of the innovation economy include innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.

Question is: To what extent are innovationtechnology and entrepreneurship in evidence in your organisation?

We are already seeing evidence of the innovation economy in that an innovative technology based start-up organisation can appear from seemingly nowhere and in a few months, completely transform existing markets and create new opportunities for both organisations and individuals, while disrupting others

The reality is that effective, well managed, adaptive and engaged IT departments have always been brokering a range of services for and on behalf of the business, where discussions are based on value, and innovation, not IT cost.  Now that’s a step in the right direction towards thriving in our innovation economy.

If that’s not happening in your organisation, that’s where you want to be – or let your competitors do the innovating for you!