Cloud computing is transforming not only business but the role of chief information officers. From fighting the endless battle of keeping the lights on, CIOs and their counterparts in other information technology executive roles have been elevated to rank among the highest decision-makers in a company.
This new role requires a new kind of leadership: progressive IT executives who are multi-disciplinary, enlightened leaders. Breaking out of the notion of systems, they are leveraging the power of ecosystems in a quest for the ultimate experience, and the ultimate value generation.
“There’s a reset in the culture,” said Alan Nance (pictured), co-founder and managing partner of CitrusCollab LLLP. “The focus is much more about how do we work together to create an amazing experience for our employees and for our customers and an experience that drives value.”
Nance spoke with Dave Vellante, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during theCUBE on Cloud event. They discussed the cloud as a transformative digital business force within enterprise and how companies need to combine data resources to innovate faster.
More data means more insights, faster solutions and greater value generation
Although the experience economy was predicted in the 1990s, the cultural demands of the digital consumer and the COVID pandemic have made it today’s reality, according to Nance. “What we’re now seeing is that consumers have choice. Employees have choice,” he said.
The stress caused by the pressure of responding to these demands is causing enterprises to break apart. This can happen in two different ways, according to Nance. One is bad, as when an enterprise fractures “dysfunctionally so that every silo tries to go into a defensive mode, protective mode,” he said. However, the fragmentation can be a positive force for an enterprise “when it fragments into ecosystems that are actually working together to solve an experience problem.”
Speaking from personal experience working to build a connected healthcare platform, Nance stated: “What I started to realize was it takes too much time, it requires too much investment, and you are bringing people to you based on your capability, whereas what the market needs is much more agile than that.” Instead of platform solutions, he predicts companies will gather small teams based on competence.
“For instance, let’s get an insurance provider, let’s get a healthcare operator, let’s get a healthcare tech company, and let’s pool their data in a way that helps us to create solutions now that can roll out in 30, 60, or 90 days,” he explained.
The key that makes this possible is the move to the public cloud, according to Nance. “There are so many specialized suppliers, specialized skill sets available that you can connect to through Amazon, through Google, through Azure, that these things that we used to think were very difficult are now much easier,” he said.
Scale and efficiency are false end goals
The focus on optimizing processes within the boundaries of a company’s system has to change, according to Nance.
“It’s all been about optimizing how we move data, how we create production services. And that’s not the game now,” he said. “The important game right now is how do I connect to my employees? How do I connect to my customers in a way that provides them a memorable experience?”
Combining data resources within an ecosystem gives a far greater power, Nance added. “I’m going to need my data, but I’m also going to need the data of other actors in that ecosystem. And then I’m going to have to build that ecosystem quickly to take advantage of the system. So this throws a monkey wrench in traditional ideas of standardization. It throws a monkey wrench in the idea that enterprise IT is about efficiency,” he said.
Focusing only on scale and efficiency rather than experience leads to mediocre solutions. “Scale as a concept within an organization is dead,” Nance stated. By viewing an organization not as a discrete entity, but as a combination of known and unknown potential ecosystems, “you start to build a different operating model, a different architectural idea. You start to look outside more than you start to look inside,” he said.
Challenging companies to look beyond their boundaries and implement change, he asked: “What is the experience you want to stage? And who do we bring together to make that happen?”
One catalyst is to bring in talent from outside the box, injecting diversity into the boardroom and shaking up established ideas. These new executives are often from diverse backgrounds and of diverse gender and ethnicity, Nance noted.
“When you start talking about creating a value chain to improve experience, you’re also talking about bringing people together from different multidisciplinary backgrounds to make that happen,” he said. “If you look at the more progressive companies, I think you are seeing a new emergence of the enlightened technology leader. So with all respect to me and my generation, our tenure as the owners of the large enterprise IT is coming to an end.”
Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of theCUBE on Cloud event:
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