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8/31/2011
02:47 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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8 Signs Your IT Team Is Too Slow

IT teams can't afford to get this reputation. What are your danger signs?

Marketing And IT Don't Talk Marketing is now a tech-driven discipline, but the historical gulf between IT and marketing departments remains at many companies. This gulf exists partly because marketing pros just don't believe IT understands digital marketing, but it's also about speed. Nearly two-thirds of respondents to a survey of chief marketing officers and CIOs last year said they had problems implementing marketing technology systems. The main reason cited? IT gives it a low priority.

Employee Gadget Policy: iPhone? What iPhone? Do employees sneak their smartphones and iPads into the company rather than risk having them banned if they ask IT what they can do with them? Letting employees use their personal devices to access company networks is becoming routine; even regulated businesses such as banks and investment companies allow it with certain controls. Employees who aren't allowed to use what they consider to be cutting-edge mobile devices on the job will inevitably see IT as behind the times.

Shadow IT: SaaS Explosion Shadow IT--when employees launch software or systems without the blessing or input of the IT department--has always been a red flag for some need that IT isn't meeting. When business units turn to software as a service without IT's help, often that unmet need is speed to market, our research finds--even more so than the capital cost savings of SaaS. So IT shops that find shadow SaaS implementations need to ask whether business units went rogue because they worried IT would take too long.

IT's Not Part Of New Product Development IT is becoming a customer-facing discipline in more and more companies. From making cars to marketing running shoes to running hotels, companies are embedding IT into the product experience. Fast-paced IT organizations must be part of the discussion of what's possible. Is there a way for an embedded sensor to collect data--whether it's a car's engine performance or miles run in a shoe--that could change how people value that product? People carry their mobile devices into hotels, grocery stores, and cars--what opportunities does that create for new interactions? Are there elements of the product development cycle that could be done digitally, in order to speed products to market faster? If IT isn't a part of these conversations, it will by definition be lagging behind the company's best ideas.

IT Doesn't Work with Startups Who's got time to work with unproven technology and companies? IT teams can't chase every startup's flashy new innovation. But IT organizations need to spend time with startups on the cutting edge of products and processes that augment a company's particular competitive advantage. IT will be judged not only on its speed of implementation, but also on it's speed of thought--whether it's sparking new ideas ahead of the competition.

What's your biggest warning sign that an IT organization's too slow?

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