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Jun 2015 - Industry Development and Models - Doc # 256593

IT Strategy and Innovation: Leadership in 3D — Beyond Two-Dimensional IT Thinking

Author: Fred Magee


This IDC study explores how IT leaders can rethink their roles in three dimensions:

  • Innovation: As a partner to the business in fostering IT-enabled innovation
  • Transformation: As the owner of the processes that transition new platforms to become stable business services
  • Integration: As a reliable and secure service provider for the established suite of IT-based products and services

The study develops a framework for considering IT leaders' role in supporting business transformation. It is a fallacy to treat innovation and legacy maintenance as separate and distinct disciplines or modes that ought to be managed independently as though they had no relation to each other. We strongly urge IT leaders to recognize that the continuous flow of new ideas through a business transforms the business over time, but these new ideas also end up as established products and services requiring the same qualities of security and stability as legacy platforms. For that to happen, there needs to be a third dimension of transformation management.

Leadership in 3D requires that businesses and their IT leaders enable creative innovation in developing what customers want, balanced with consistent delivery to consumers, while also transforming the nature of the enterprise by integrating the new with the old. Transformation must be accomplished without disrupting organizational culture or customer experience to the point that the enterprise fails to consistently deliver the quality of the products and services that its stakeholders expect.

This study on Leadership in 3D provides specific guidance to CIOs on how IT leaders can become and remain integral players as they meet the challenges of supporting enterprise transformation: embracing new ideas and transitioning them to well-managed products and services.

"There is an absolute requirement for a third dimension of transformation management, and mastering that third dimension will become the most critical for defining CIO leadership in the coming years. In our experience, leaders who are adept at driving change and business transformation are the most likely to seize expanded responsibilities and professional success," says Fred Magee, adjunct research advisor for IDC's Research Network. "This study develops a framework for thinking about IT leaders' role in supporting business transformation and for understanding how IT can truly be aligned to business needs in the coming years."


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