4 survival strategies for IT chaos
Your IT survival guide for the new business normal: Four steps for mastering the world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
Computerworld - Every time Stuart Kippelman's 10-year-old daughter gets into the car with her father, she insists the Bluetooth isn't working. It takes about 10 seconds to sync and power up the music, and to a preteen, 10 seconds equals broken.
Today's youth are, of course, tomorrow's customers. "They demand immediacy, which is driving what IT has to deal with," says Kippelman, who is CIO at Covanta Energy and a Computerworld blogger.
But the need for speed is just the tip of the iceberg. Across all industries, IT teams are up against unprecedented volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, also known as VUCA. A term that originated in the military, VUCA aptly sums up what CIOs face every day in today's turbulent business environment.
"VUCA includes currency devaluation, natural disasters happening all over the place and, from an IT standpoint, a big proliferation in data and cyberattacks," says Linda Clement-Holmes, senior vice president of Global Business Services at Procter & Gamble. "We have to deal with all of these things."
The list goes on: Thanks to cheap and ultra-efficient technology, new competitors can come out of the woodwork; global privacy rules and industry regulations are continually changing; and users' expectations -- driven largely by their experiences with consumer technology -- are through the roof.
"In the old business model, big ate small," says John Sullivan, a professor of management at San Francisco State University and former chief talent officer at Agilent Technologies. But in the VUCA world, "fast eats slow," he says. "Facebook didn't exist six years ago, and now, a billion-dollar company is run by someone who didn't graduate college and wears a hoodie. Before, you always knew your competitor, but now, dominant players might come from any industry and come overnight."
Here's an IT survival guide for the age of VUCA.
1. Learn Flexibility
The only way to manage the chaos is to become super highly adaptable, IT leaders say. Throw out your five-year strategy; VUCA defies long-term planning. Also jettison multimillion-dollar project plans and technology investments. Strive instead to become "asset-light," relying on IT services you can quickly expand or unplug as business conditions blink. Perhaps most important (and most counterintuitive): You should simultaneously pursue competing goals.
In a VUCA world, "what used to work for five years might work for six months. Because you can't plan for a particular thing, you have to plan for a range of things," says Sullivan. "Moving in different directions at the same time must become the norm."
VUCA, CIOs say, impacts everything -- from the way you structure an IT organization and hire talent to how you cut costs, boost productivity, and launch new revenue-generating products and services. John Halamka, CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, also says the rise of VUCA presents a golden opportunity for innovation.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
Red Hat Enterprise Linux - The Original Cloud Operating System
Linux adoption is growing against a number of measures, such as the
number of supercomputers that run Linux and the size of the contributing...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- The CIO's Guide to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) This guide will help those making an EMM platform decision make the best choice for their organization.
- Live Webcast Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information...
- Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing... All Management White Papers | Webcasts