What is the future of IT in business?

I’ve come to the realisation that there are no good forums for folk trying to understand what new operational models and opportunities the current technological and business environments might offers us. Somewhere to toss back and forth new ways of solving problems, not just incremental improvements on what was done in the past. Somewhere inclusive enough to involve small, medium and large businesses, and not just start ups.

Rather than continuing to complain about this to friends over beers, I thought I might see if I can start one.

Find below a rough mission statement for such a forum. See what you think, and leave a comment. If you're interested then shoot me an email/tweet. If your in Melbourne (full time or regularly) then lets catch up.

Australia has emerged from the recent global financial crisis into a fundamentally different business environment. The business cycle has compressed from years into months, or even weeks, bringing traditional multi-year transformations into question, while the ubiquitous nature of consumer technology is changing nature and motivations of our workforce. We’re being driven to do more with less, and we need to do it faster and faster. The business of IT is changing, and we need to change with it.

This is a community to explore the ideas, tools and techniques that might lead to a new model of how IT is used in business, as well as a forum to share war stories and lessons learnt. Our interest is in ‘how to use technology effectively’, not in ‘technology’ itself. We are entering a future where IT departments are no longer defined by the assets they manage, and our new organisations will require different strategies to manage they technologies they will use. Rather than ignore this future, attempting to continue to plow the same furrow as we plowed last year, we want to use the opportunity to create leaner, more efficient and collaborative IT departments that will work with the business and take us into the future.

We provide a forum for a new breed of technology leader, one more intent on delivering incremental business value rather than the traditional focus on operations and provisioning applications. We don't limit ourselves to people who self identify as technology entrepreneurs and innovators, welcoming anyone who is trying to find a new role for technology in business. We aim to create a forum where members can explore new ideas on how to approach problems, and forum which can act as a sounding board for new ideas and approaches.

The community is built around regular forum held in a central location. A loose format is used; a short plenary to set a topic for the meeting followed either by the opportunity to network and share ideas and war stories, or by an unconference, a group of short workshops where anyone can nominate topics and individuals sign up to the topics that they are interested in.

Our goal is to create a space where we can explore and share ideas from a wide range of industries and disciplines. Our only rules are:

  • No bystanders
  • No selling
  • The law of two feet{{1}}

[[1]]If you are not learning or contributing to a talk, presentation or discussion, then it is your responsibility to find somewhere where you can contribute or learn.[[1]]

There many events for CIOs and other traditional IT roles, but they seem to split their time between lamenting how hard it is being a CIO today, trying to justify reporting directly to the CEO, and discussing how to cope with the latest technological trend (yesterday it was cloud, today it's BYOD). There's even more events focused on specific technologies and trends; social media, the social enterprise, and so on. There's even a few forums run by the strategy sky pilots, though they're largely divorced from the day to day practicalities of getting stuff done. What we need is somewhere where we can explore new ways of using IT and integrating it into our businesses.

I'll be nosing around over the next few months, trying to determine if we could pull something together and get this started. Feel free to contact me if you're interested, especially if you can help.


4 thoughts on “What is the future of IT in business?

  1. first of all, hello, been 10 years since the ivory tower… my thoughts are not necessarily about what is to come — that is tough to predict let alone leverage — but how to escape the realities of IT today– big backlogs, too many projects fighting for limited resources, conflicting strategies of business units, “my project is number 1, forget everything else…”… hard to move forward when the past is dragging you back… we need to know not just where to get to, but how to take the first steps…

  2. Hi..Been following your blog passively for a while. I have been closely working in the domain of Social Business for a while. I have always liked your objective assessment of the emerging technologies, something very rarely seen amidst evangelists and tech gurus. Would be eager to join the forum and participate in the discussions. 

  3. It has been a while, hasn’t it. I think that I’m with you, less interested in grand visions for future IT departments than I am in what pragmetic steps we can take today. Projects are a distraction, driven by the fact that many folk have hook their careers to the delivery of a stream of ever larger projects. I’m hoping that a strong problem focus, and the inclusion of stakeholders outside of the usual IT department, will go a long way to overcoming this.

  4. Glad you like the blog; I sometimes wonder if it’s a bunch of ramblings, so it’s good to here that people are finding it useful.

    My current thoughts are for something face-to-face here in Melbourne, so whether or not that works for you depends on where you are. There are some thoughts on something online, but that’s a bit further down the road, though I’ll be posting updates here on the blog so it should be easy to keep an eye on.

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