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Every industry is facing an accelerated pace of change. If companies can’t keep up with their customer’s needs and expectations — they will soon become obsolete. Inertia is a sure way to fail. Companies need to continuously change, as their customers change. 

This may seem difficult. It’s likely that your IT organization spends too much of its time ‘keeping the lights on’ or has a never-ending backlog of tasks to be done for other teams. However, it is possible for IT teams to pivot in the face of innovation quickly without skipping a beat. What’s needed is an agile business model and a future-proof foundation.

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Here are four ways CIOs can establish this agile model to pave the way for future change: 

#1 Establish an innovative business model

There’s always going to be a new normal on the horizon and subsequently a need for organizations to deliver faster. However, fragmented hybrid environments make data inaccessible and integration really hard. In fact, 89% of IT leaders say data silos are an obstacle to digital transformation. It’s why many turn to writing quick custom code, which takes a toll on long-term operations and time to value.

To enable business agility, IT needs to invest in a unified platform — rather than relying on custom code or a set of tactical tools — that can securely expose data and turn it into consumable building blocks (like APIs) that the entire organization can discover and innovate with. Decentralizing IT and empowering your full ecosystem with data is a huge competitive advantage. It also takes the burden off IT to deliver all projects end to end. 

#2 Partner with business peers

For this new innovation model to work, a close partnership with business peers

is critical. To be successful, CIOs must:

  • Deeply understand what initiatives are important to the business, working closely with the CEO, CFO, and board to identify and prioritize.
  • Clearly map how technology can play a role in achieving those business goals at speed.
  • Work in partnership with line-of-business groups to hit goals, sharing one vision and key value metrics.

Additionally, a common understanding needs to be established with these business peers. According to seasoned IT executive Steve Stone, “It’s hard to sell IT strategies to business peers if they don’t understand the problem. You need to talk about it in a language they understand: mitigating risk, improving quality, increasing speed.” 

#3 Organize your integration team right

Once you’ve aligned with business peers on the company’s top goals and how integration can help achieve them at speed, it’s vital to put careful consideration on how to structure the integration team. To be successful, IT must shift from a centralized function to a strategic business partner. 

CIOs should start by thinking about how to manage the different demands for data coming from multiple parts of the business. Seasoned IT executive, Esat Sezer, explains how he built a Center for Enablement (C4E) team at Coca-Cola Enterprises to manage increasing integration demands from the business. He says, “You want to create a secure and reusable pathway to each data set, instead of rebuilding integrations every time a request comes in. This will increase productivity, speed, and ultimately time to value.” 

#4 Measure the value of integration

The value of integration is tough to measure. A simple Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model is often used ad hoc, but falls short on showcasing the true business value enabled by integration. 

Given integration can determine who leads and who lags in today’s all-digital, work-from-anywhere world, leading CIOs are adopting two key ways to measure its value. The first being direct value created from an integration platform, the second being indirect value enabled by an integration platform.

When justifying strategic integration investments to business peers, CIOs need to translate their team’s potential impact into tangible business metrics. One proven way is to highlight what integration is costing the business today (i.e., developer productivity, maintenance costs, quality) and how a new approach can improve outcomes and accelerate time to value in support of business goals.

To address today’s digital acceleration, organizations in every industry must unlock data quickly to increase their speed, agility, and efficiency. Get the playbook from seasoned CIOs to learn how to digitally transform and drive business outcomes at speed.