Chris Murphy, Editor for InformationWeek magazine has a recent blog post entitled, "Will CMOs Outspend CIOs?" For those of you not in the know, CMO is Chief Marketing Officer. Just another alphabet soup entry in the seemingly never-ending stream. The important take away from Chris' article is that Information Technology has largely taken to a bunker mentality and has stopped being the R&D arm needed for strategic decisions in a flexible corporate organization. Here is a classic case of created silos of operation hindering real growth and innovation in any organization. Here's what I think is the crucial take-away of Chris' article.
Whether to automate their operations or analyze data, marketing teams are buying cloud software, giving it a short run, and dumping it if it isn't working. "Marketing has an internal innovation and R&D role that is brand new," McLellan says, adding: "Marketing's thinking might be 12-plus months ahead of where IT is."(My emphasis)If leading companies are to bring their products and services to market more effectively they will need a new set of data and new analysis techniques to allow them insight to what that data mining results mean. IT should be at the head of the R&D vanguard leading this effort, but more likely they are thinking about how to protect an existing infrastructure and reducing compliance risk when they should be looking at how to deliver new value and carve away old risk and fat.
All this requires a new breed of change management and I suspect IT is tired of being the whipping boy of missed change initiatives, so they have retreated to their bunkers. Instead they should be looking to find more advanced ways to create synergy, cooperation and solutions responding to the needs of their clients, the other departments in the company. The change management I'm thinking of uses a new way of interactive involvement between departments and breaks problems apart using cross-functional solution partners. This is a problem more complex than we were working with even five years ago and finding a solution with old ideas likely won't produce the results needed today.
I lay the blame for this problem squarely at the door of the CEO and CIO/CTO of any company. Until leadership understands the real relationship of information and business value, the same old story of missed opportunities will continue to be told over and over again. To break this cycle of failure new thinking is needed and new cross-functional teams, which are almost three times more effective than single function teams, are needed as well. Getting business basics, marketing, operations, production and technology in the same problem space at the same time focused on specific issues is more likely to create new solution pathways than any other single activity a CEO can be engaged in.
More companies need leadership to understand value is produced when ideas are developed into solutions quickly and effectively. Achieving that kind of success requires breaking the old molds of thinking and action. That's breaking the molds and creating new pathways for thinking. As a good friend of mine from West Texas says, "Put down that stupid stick, son and climb out of that hole right now."
Continue on to the next part of the series HR-Part of the Problem...
This is a continuing series of articles as a Connection about Chaos and Change Management in the workplace. Other ideas here include change management, Brain Reprogramming, Agile and collaboration, neuroscience and Project Management as applied to complex or wicked problems.