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IT mindset: CIOs, tech departments work to overcome the ‘IKEA effect’


Transcending boundaries

While the CIOs take somewhat different approaches to changing hearts and minds, the basic outlines of the cultural destination appear to be quite similar. Greater customer focus and interaction with the business is one hallmark. Flexibility in providing IT resources is another.

Chaplin refers to greater interaction as the orchestrate component of the orchestrate-and-assemble approach to IT. Initially, orchestration is just getting IT and business to talk. That’s a big step as many people outside IT view the tech department as the group that always says no.

“IT has been the curmudgeon,” he said, adding that more IT shops are now open to collaboration.

Once IT understands the needs of the business, the next step is assembly. That is, building the appropriate technology platform to enable the business. That could include a range of resources including cloud-based offerings and external service providers as well as in-house resources.

That platform is more open to outside influences and less dependent on a CIO accumulating headcount. Mathews said the previous response to acquiring new skills was to hire more people. Today, however, he reaches for a metaphorical “book shelf” to obtain skill sets, which could come from an employee, a vendor or even a competitor.

As for the latter, a school may contact another university for help on a particular technical problem. For example, Oral Roberts University has incorporated Fitbit wearable technology into its student fitness program, with “aerobics points” transmitted directly to the school’s learning management system. Another college may ask about how to integrate Fitbit in a similar way.

“We will share the tool set, if you want to do it yourself,” he said. “If you need it working in the next month, we will give you the scripts we wrote for that.”

Maritz is also looking beyond its organizational boundaries.

“We are looking for the best possible solutions for our customers, and many times that is not us doing it ourselves,” Paubel added.

The Maritz IT department will set forth the options for a given business need, whether it’s a hybrid cloud, a third-party application or an internally built offering.

While a traditional IT department hosts business applications in-house, Maritz is open to hosting apps on Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. The company uses ServiceNow’s cloud-based IT service management software to help customers provision those resources.

“We are here to orchestrate with whatever solution makes the most sense,” Paubel said. “That is the mindset that allows us to get the … thought process to change inside of IT.”


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