The challenge of adapting ICT include sustaining current operations, overcoming incumbency, market dynamics, risk management and funding transition. This article looks at some business trends as a result of changes in ICT. In a future edition we will look at how business realises the opportunities that ICT brings.
From the implementation of mainframes and desktops, through to cloud computing and smart phones, business has adapted to changes in Information Communication Technology (ICT). Whilst what a business needs to do change slowly (the need to be customer centric and make a profit), how a business operates (the use of ICT to better service customers) has brought significant rapid change to a business. It is the change in how a business operates, including ICT that, allows a business to remain competitive.
Although ICT has significantly impacted businesses to lower costs, improve service, and standardise processes and operations, the adoption of ICT and resulting business changes has not always been smooth. Some businesses have failed to make changes, others have missed opportunities, and others are reluctant to change due to risk and/or the need to overcome incumbency. The business change around the adoption of ICT starts with an appreciation of the business impacts of changes in ICT.
ICT is business
Irrespective of an individual technology or changes in a technology, common requirements for ICT within the business environment include:
• ICT is not an adjunct to business: ICT is business; • ICT present at the business table; • ICT managed and operated as a utility infrastructure to service needs; • ICT being the assembly line for knowledge workers; • ICT showing the business the opportunities, markets and transformation that ICT brings; • ICT providing the knowledge utility for real time decision making to support business.
Command & Control
Changes in ICT, the availability of information and the speed with which decisions need to be made is changing the command and control structure within businesses. Even if the decision makers had all of the information needed at the right time to make a decision, decision makers struggle to find the time to make all of the decisions. The emerging trend is to use ICT to allow for decentralised decision making within frameworks for delivery. The changes in ICT are driving empowerment and problem solving at source. Such changes place a premium on strategy and planning, with a culture of empowerment to manage outcomes and behaviours. Underpinning such a structure are distributed operations with the ability to adapt to changes, to self-heal and create an emergent behaviour. Changes include:
• People – Leaders with visions and strategy and the ability to implement and manage such environments. The assurance to support empowered operations is required, together with decision making at source. The required strategies, communication and skilling of staff to work within such structures are necessary. • Process – Adoption of distributed operation business models and the use of frameworks and tools such as enterprise risk management to ensure delivery. • Information – Access to information is key to success, with knowledge being a utility that underpins business. • Transaction Processing
As more transactions are processed by ICT without intervention, the skill set required is changing. Proactive problem solvers are required when things go wrong and to manage exceptions, and to engage with customers to manage expectations. With routine transactions processed by ICT, more skilled resources with excellent communication skills and