Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Integrated Tech & Ops

In times where CIOs themselves dont see their positions attractive or influencing in the corporate, the article recently published in CIO magazine raises hope. The gist of this article is that the new role of the CIO could be a SVP for Technology & Operations. One can find many number of instances in the industry where CIO is complemented with additional responsibility to IT. In most cases, the Operations is merged with IT. In other cases, the CIO is given additional responsibility for other support functions such as HR, Infrastructure/Real Estate, etc.
I see this transition as a very good opportunity for bringing IT close to business. Under the unified umbrella of Technology & Operations, IT can influence lot of business process automations/optimizations and Business Processes can benefit a lot from IT. Of course, there is a catch, provided if they both work together.
Having an Enterprise Architecture body that talks to business trying to create a business-IT alignment is a top-down approach, whereas having a SVP who heads both Technology& Operations can be a bottom-up door opener for achieving business-IT alignment. I will be curious to read successful case studies where these two functions really sit along the same side of the table , 'not' across the table to discuss their problems and improve them together.
On these lines, I would like to bring up a fact that a company in India, called iGATE, have sensed the significance of this organization model five years ago and came out with a integrated tech & ops offering for Mortgage/Insurance and Banking industry. It was a really interesting and visionary model for the maket, to start with. It will be interesting to see how this model shapes up and how this model gets adopted by other IT majors in India.
The consequence of my earlier apprehension - only if the tech & ops in the customer organization are really integrated and working together in spirit, not in letter - the vendor outsourcing will happen as a unified entity. Otherwise, it would still be treated as two different offerings - one for BPO and another for IT.

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