My career in information technology predates the wide use of the web. I downloaded Linux from a BBS within the early 90s. From that point to now, the planet has gone from DVD to Blue Ray to streaming, from phones built into cars to supercomputers in our pockets that handle voice, and from beastly, slow systems to elegant solutions just like the iPhone, Surface, and flash storage. Digitalization offers benefits to almost every area of business, and digital ideas come from everywhere.
There is a saying that “change is that the only constant.” While that's certainly the case, technology’s creep into every facet of our lives has been relentless. Things that were once the domain of huge corporate or university IT shops started ending up in smaller shops and residential offices. The organizational spend on technology was massive, but there was a much bigger target within the sights of the manufacturers- consumers. Consumer technology now permeates everyone’s lives. Because the workforce went home, mobile, or self-supporting, consumer technology started coming into the enterprise.
One of the simplest samples of consumer technology coming to the office and therefore the shift it's caused is that the iPad. The IT leaders of the many organizations vowed never to permit such a thing on their networks. This vow lasted a few months– up to the purpose when the CEO walked in with an iPad.
These consumer devices also offered new capabilities. With a mastercard and an account in an app store, anyone can buy virtually any technology-enabled service without counting on their IT department. This type of consumer expectation combined with the currency of cloud technologies, and it set the stage for an explosion.
Now we've a free for all. Parts of your organization do things with technology you recognize nothing about. If you think that you recognize all about it you’re fooling yourself. Technology has become everyone’s domain and therefore the scariest part of all is that your customers might not need you anymore. To stay relevant, a CIO must make customers want the services provided. If they don’t want the services, the offering is perhaps not aligned with the organization.
This shift– from wielding control to wielding influence– is often very difficult to form . CIOs and other IT leaders are in charge of “making it work” for many years.