The biggest advocates for information technology transformation can come from inside your organization. Internal IT innovators can spark business growth and evolution. Learn how having employees as innovation champions can benefit your company in this blog.
With companies increasingly relying on IT post-pandemic and through the current macroeconomic headwinds, innovation is vital to continue pushing the business world forward. Having employees as IT innovation advocates can help your company attract talent and optimize efficiency. While it may seem like a big undertaking to tackle, let’s explore how employees can play this important role in organizations.
How can IT organizations become more innovative?
Leadership alignment and buy-in can inspire innovation and make IT organizations more effective. Technology should enable and act as the catalyst for business objectives – not the end state. Organizational leadership should align on objectives. Executives responsible for IT and digitalization who report to the board and executive committees, such as CIOs and CTOs, should sponsor innovation initiatives.
Implementing contextual metrics for progress is another focus of innovation. Because IT organizations often are viewed as cost centers, they are typically measured on efficiency and policy only. As technology fundamentally enables new business models, organizations need to ensure they are using purpose-led metrics. Everest Group recommends using different metrics based on the objective, such as time to implement systems, improvement in customer onboarding scopes, and automating back-office processes that measure efficiency, and customer experience and new business model innovation that track growth. We believe IT is becoming an enabler for growth, through Systems of Growth thinking, Agile governance also drives innovation in IT organizations. Given the rapid technological change and disruption, IT organizations cannot be static. A cross-functional leadership team should re-examine IT organizations frequently to ensure they remain aligned to their “North Star” and quickly learn from mistakes and course correct.
What benefits come from being an IT innovator?
Innovative-driven IT organizations benefit in three main ways. First, organizations can respond to customer needs faster. More and more, an organization’s ability to use technology determines its success in a fast-changing environment as customer preferences and consumption patterns evolve.
Second, IT innovation improves the ability to attract the right talent. As Gen-Z (and beyond) become the primary workforce that organizations try to attract, they must provide the right tools and infrastructure to make the employee experience a key part of their value proposition. This is also the key to managing attrition and creating belonging in the workplace.
Lastly, IT innovation allows organizations to stay ahead of compliance and security needs. With the ever-evolving regulatory environment, using purpose-built technology can help organizations become resilient and secure. As a result, organizations can avoid brand, reputation, and financial loss.
How can IT leaders convince their business counterparts that it’s important to fund innovation?
Creating internal advocates and champions is vital to IT innovation. IT should seek greater feedback from internal and end users to create a distinctive business case. Beyond that, individuals can start promoting IT innovation.
The first way is to speak the language of business. IT enables business growth and innovation — thus, it needs to be referenced in the same context. Framing technology investments as anchored to growth, efficiency, and resilience will enable a wider cross-section of organizational counterparts to understand its impact.
Another avenue to garner support for IT innovation is to regularly report results. IT leaders shouldn’t wait for end-of-year results or budgeting cycles to showcase progress. They should do this quarterly or more frequently, so leaders see the impact and value.
The IT department shouldn’t be an isolated team but instead, plug into a company’s DNA and morph as the company changes. By collaborating with multiple sectors of the company, IT innovation can be built into the organizational framework. This will ensure the IT team is not at odds and can more easily assist their company by continuously adapting to changing markets.
For more information or to discuss how to implement innovation into your IT team, reach out to Nitish Mittal at [email protected].
You can also discover how technology, processes, and business networks will evolve in our webinar, What’s Ahead After a Decade of Digital Transformation?