Gone are the days of business-as-usual tranquility. As today's competitive advantage may be a disadvantage as soon as tomorrow, long-run superior performance calls for non-stop innovation of new value. An agile enterprise must continually change and must even be able to reinvent its core essence in the face of major business discontinuities.
There is hardly any business change in which information technology (IT) does not play a role. In contrast, change is increasingly IT-driven. In addition to cost efficiency and reliability of operations, the role of IT as the enabler of organizational agility and innovation is increasing in importance.
However, the prevailing IT mess of large organizations does not readily yield to the ever-changing market needs. Over time, the IT landscape has evolved incrementally and resulted in "integration spaghetti" that is prohibitively difficult and expensive to manage and maintain. The organization is fragile rather than agile.
About two thirds of IT projects fail in some important way: time and budget overruns, terminations, or all of these. The economic impact of this problem is at around three billion dollars, or close to 5 per cent of global GDP. As projects are getting bigger and more complex, the number of project failures is actually increasing. Large IT projects are 20 times more likely to fail than large projects in other sectors, such as construction.
What are the reasons for this poor performance of IT? What should be done to improve IT?
The knee-jerk reaction to the increasing cost and pricing pressures is to focus on the operating costs of IT. When IT is seen as a mere cost center, however, the focus is inherently on short-term value realization. Focusing on day-to-day operational reliability and efficiency, only IT projects that are "aligned" with the current enterprise strategy are approved, financed and prioritized.
Such "IT follows business" approach may satisfy all business requirements, but gradually erodes the IT landscape. As a result, the organization falls in an "alignment trap". In fact, cost-focused businesses actually spend more on IT than the industry average, while businesses focused on agility have reduced IT costs.
In the face of rapid and unpredictable change, the value of IT comes increasingly from its socio-technical aspect: how technology is used to enable business. When IT is designed and used to engineer value, not only for today, but also for the unfolding future, social questions increase in importance: Do people have the right skills and to carry out their work and enough discretion to make the decisions that are required of them? Do they have enough authority to match what they are accountable for? Are the roles and role relationships clear? How does IT governance address the communication and coordination needs?
Information Technology (IT) has a fundamental impact in organizations and the society at large: unprecedented computing power, infinity of virtual space and ubiquitous connectivity present an enormous potential to create enterprise effectiveness, increase flexibility and enable entirely new business models.
The traditional "IT follows business" approach may have worked reasonably well in the relatively stable and predictable business environments of the past, but it falls increasingly short in the face of today's dynamic markets, where competitive advantage is in a continuous flux. In these turbulent times, IT must redeem its promise as a competitive weapon and determine the way in which business is conducted.
This seminar is well suited for senior IT and business managers in large information-intensive organizations, who think about IT strategically from a business perspective: how to integrate information technology, business strategy and organizational change management into a coherent, systemic whole to enable enterprise agility. The cross-disciplinary research findings and cutting-edge industry practices leveraged in the seminar will provide you with additional insights into the "anatomy of agile enterprise" in an elaborated and informative format.