The InformationWeek Elite 100 tracks the IT practices of the nation's most innovative organizations and examines their business practices across core areas of operations, including technology deployment, IT budgets, business technology infrastructure, and strategies.
In reviewing the hundreds of submissions for our 28th annual ranking, we were impressed with the level of transformation happening in IT organizations across every industry sector. We see creative new uses of machine-to-machine and Internet of Things technologies. We see big data and real-time analytics being applied in ways that directly influence business decision-making.
We see predictive analytics being used, quite literally, to save lives. We see applications being applied to global operations in ways that advance the speed of business. And we see digital services that are helping companies completely replace old business models.
To talk about technology transforming business only tells part of the story, though. At the end of the day, it's the people behind the technology who are truly the agents of change. And that's where the most exciting shifts are happening. Design thinking is being applied to the creation of digital goods and services. The customer-first approach to IT undertakings is becoming universal. A transformation is happening in the skill sets and expertise being tapped to develop new products and services.
That's not to say all is rainbows and unicorns in the world of IT. The pace of change has introduced new challenges -- such as managing an infrastructure that incorporates everything from mainframes to advanced mobile APIs. It’s put profound pressure on enterprise CIOs.
In this year's survey of our Elite 100, we asked an open-ended question about the biggest mistakes made this year, and the 92 responses we received offer a treasure trove of learning. Here are some of the mistakes shared, which serve as a microcosm of very real IT pain points:
- We introduced new cloud services without planning adequately to realize the full value potential from those capabilities.
- We engaged a consultancy to deliver several capabilities, all together, at the end of a waterfall development effort. However, customers were waiting for value in increments, but as per the plan, demonstrable value was scheduled to be delivered several months hence.
- Our adoption of Agile practices has been slower and bumpier than anticipated. While mostly aligned with the Agile approach and objectives, it has been challenging to get commitments on the specific associates who will be full-time on an Agile team across both technology and product development teams. It is also taking longer to connect our top-down planning processes with the day-to-day execution in the teams.
These and other challenges aside, what we're celebrating today is the remarkable ability of IT organizations to adapt to a rapidly changing environment at an unprecedented pace. With our Elite 100 rankings, we pause to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of the people who make IT happen.