Let me take a moment to clarify what I am NOT saying: I am not saying IT people should start running out to prospects' offices with sales kits tucked under their arms, and I am not saying that every company has to give every customer whatever that customer wants. What I am saying is that IT focused on customer needs and engagement and opportunities will prove to be vastly more valuable than IT focused on internal issues. And I am saying that "aligning IT with the business" is condemning CIOs and IT organizations to the internal tar pit, where death won't come quickly but from which there's no escape. And I am saying that massive new evolutionary prospects lie outside the company's four walls and are centered within what customers need, want, and haven't even figured out yet. And that's why IT needs to align with customers.
This is a subject to which we'll surely be returning frequently in the months to come because I believe it will become, quite simply, the leading factor in determining success or failure in the world of business technology. Those CIOs who cannot unshackle themselves from the age-old bonds of internally focused thinking and execution will not be able to survive, let alone thrive, in the years ahead, while those that can shake free and lead the interconnected engagement with customers will remake the way business success and business technology are defined for many years to come.
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