I’m very lucky in my job. I love it actually. It literally gets me all over the world talking to CIOs and, more frequently now than ever, I find I’m meeting CFOs and CDOs who are asking questions about IT.

What is it that I’m seeing? There is definitely a shift happening not only in corporate America, but also worldwide. Traditional IT departments are disappearing. That, I believe, is a good thing.

I want to be sure you understand what I mean. It’s the tradition of IT that’s changing. I’m not really seeing traditional IT issues being in the way anymore. Seriously, most companies let you work on the computer you want regardless if it’s Windows or Apple. Typically, you have your own phone integrated with your company email and may use three or four devices that interconnect with your personal life and career. Technology is not really disappearing—it’s just starting to be woven into the fabric of the organization and, therefore, a business is aligning its businesses and is enabling employee productivity to ultimately benefit a customer and grow revenue.

As companies continue to leverage the cloud, services and agile application development, we are seeing traditional organizational charts topple from being that of a silo command and conquer to that of small integrated teams empowered to get it done. The role that IT plays within these teams has in fact never been more important. Ever increasingly, IT is built specifically to look at how it can become a competitive weapon or an enablement device to raise the bar within the market—and that is really amazing.

We are now seeing a role whereby the grow and transform element of IT is being managed by a Chief Digital Officer and the maintain functionality is being run by a CIO. Please note, this isn’t bimodal IT. Bimodal IT is about running multiple IT organizations with multiple cultures that breaks apart quickly, and that, I believe, is an incorrect way of looking at the issue. I will get to culture in just a minute.

Agile teams are demanding a structure with a CDO/CIO approach, just as the industrial revolution demanded a hierarchical organization because not only did they need to represent the customer, but they also had to do so in a way that is gradual, organic and opportunity based, while at the same time being driven and self-organizing. Otherwise problems can be too large to tackle in any form of a market window that is even remotely possible of being met.

It’s about volume and quality and the value of what needs to be done for the organization within a timeframe. Agility then offers an order of magnitude improvement, which is kind of second nature to many new technology companies or those who seem to offer products that are “born in the cloud.” Traditional companies still have some work to do and, in most cases, it’s culture that is holding them back. Now, more often than not, I’m finding the C-suite talking about culture and how it plays a role in making a competitive business and enabling talent to effectively (and energetically, I might add) get the job done. Culture can be the enemy in many large organizations, and it’s clear that this needs to be addressed.

The clear gap is the understanding at the top. DataKinetics isn’t a very large company. In fact, we are big enough to serve the biggest of customers, but small enough to be flexible and highly effective. We must be. We wouldn’t have been able to enjoy four record years of growth, produce products that are contributing to growth-making acquisitions, and run more PoCs around the globe with the number 1, 2 and 3 companies in virtually every vertical we play in, if we didn’t listen and enable a culture that allows us to react.

CEOs that get the value of culture drive it into their organizations. They do so relentlessly to ensure their team members understand the value of the culture that the organization needs to succeed in, and to understand how it impacts their customers and, ultimately, their business. Similarly, the CEO drives this integration of IT right into the fabric of the business such that it becomes part of the organization’s DNA. To do this, you need to implement a scaled agile approach within your organization. The only way to effectively do that today is with cloud, micro services and smart application development.

CEOs that don’t get it—well it’s time to become informed. If you’re wrestling with legacy integration then I submit you’re probably asking the question the wrong way, and looking at solving the problem with a more traditional approach. Break down the silos and force teams to come together to solve the problem in light of what the customer is expecting. Companies like DataKinetics are passionate about finding ways for you to deliver on your needs to grow while managing your costs in the process—and getting the most out of your IT investments. Forty years of service and growing faster now than we have ever done…just saying.

Originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

Allan Zander
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Allan Zander

Regular Planet Mainframe Blog Contributor
Allan Zander is the CEO of DataKinetics – the global leader in Data Performance and Optimization. As a “Friend of the Mainframe”, Allan’s experience addressing both the technical and business needs of Global Fortune 500 customers has provided him with great insight into the industry’s opportunities and challenges – making him a sought-after writer and speaker on the topic of databases and mainframes.
Allan Zander
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