skip to main content

Straight Talk Technology

Ovum view

Like it or not, community attitudes have changed, and those who hope to remain in business must respond to these new business realities. Some sectors have already felt the blowtorch of industry transformation and disruption, and changes in community attitudes have already driven a substantial shift in the way people purchase and consume everyday goods and services. Against this backdrop, it is unreasonable to expect that the public sector should be immune to such fundamental market forces.

The traditional IT role can sometimes appear to be a thankless task. Hemmed in by growing expectations, tight budgets, and a diminishing tolerance for failure, some CIOs have opted to circle the wagons to defend staff numbers, budgets, and internal infrastructure. However, generational change has delivered a technology-enabled workforce with little understanding or acceptance of the word "no". Although some organizations may pride themselves on their tight control of IT resources, the very use of these tight controls has encouraged the growth of shadow IT that is hidden across the enterprise. Today, every enterprise must think of itself as a digital enterprise. Those old artificial boundaries between the business and IT hardly make sense in a contemporary business.

Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting for Godot" depicts the folly of two characters endlessly waiting in vain for someone to arrive. Since the time the play was written in the 1950s there have been various interpretations of the play's hidden meanings, particularly in the context of world events as they unfolded throughout the 20th century.

Today, Beckett's play still has special meaning as a way of looking at the contemporary challenges for 21st century organizations. The digital enterprise cannot be managed as a thin veneer of contemporary technology over the top of outdated corporate policies and business practices.

  • Some organizations are struggling to achieve timely outcomes while they continue to wait in vain for grindingly slow corporate IT projects to complete. Some managers continue to hope that, like Godot, the promised outcomes will one day arrive.

  • Some managers are held back by indecision while they wait for yet another generation of technology to come to market, somehow hoping that these new technologies might fix their underlying business problems.

  • Some leaders have become mesmerized by the need to drive greater efficiency through best-practice procurement. In their enthusiastic adherence to process, however, they fail to take advantage of innovation and opportunities that are coming quickly to market.

Digital service delivery must be more than just a rearrangement of existing core technologies, or superficial upgrades, project names, and job titles. Real change must reach much deeper into the underlying culture of the enterprise.

Straight Talk is a weekly briefing from the desk of the Chief Research Officer. To receive this newsletter by email, please contact us.