One thing we have noticed in inquiries with our clients around the world and across industries is that I&O now has an overall higher level of visibility and credibility with business leaders than it has ever had before. Let's be clear - the pandemic has created a lot of misery, and we certainly didn't wish for it or want to make light of it. However, there is no doubt that I&O is in a different place than it was a year ago.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, progressive I&O organizations focused on infrastructure-led disruption (ILD) to take an active role in business transformation (see “Infrastructure-Led Disruption in Action”). The pandemic response accelerated this need, and many I&O leaders and their teams have responded brilliantly. I&O leaders are justifiably proud of the roles their teams have played in enabling remote work, business continuity and contactless customer services. Many have earned a “seat at the table” in their organizations, which would have been unimaginable to a lot of those I&O leaders at the start of 2020.
However, it is not clear how we should capitalize on that visibility and credibility before it fades. As organizations continue to move into the “renew phase” of the pandemic response (see “The Postpandemic Planning Framework”), new challenges and opportunities will command business leaders’ attention. The ongoing challenges I&O has faced with being viewed as a cost center, communicating value and being bypassed in favor of external providers have not gone away. All of this is creating confusion about how to move forward.
I&O leaders have found that the seat at the table has come at a time of great uncertainty. This can be stressful, but it is also a unique opportunity to drive growth, establish business leadership credentials and change I&O’s value proposition. Thus, I&O leaders risk throwing away an opportunity to drive enterprise success and secure the future of I&O if we don’t act on this moment. I&O leaders must decide whether they will coast on their increased credibility and visibility as long as they can, or use the energy available at this moment to reposition I&O to increase its business value.
We recommend the latter, and the way to do so is through Infrastructure-Led Innovation.
Our guidance in "Harness Infrastructure-Led Innovation to Drive Digital Business Growth" is the first in a series of research we will be delivering to you on this critical topic. Review our initial guidance, and tell us what innovations you are driving and what obstacles you are encountering. Then, ask us to help! We can share technology ideas that will enable you to drive innovation, and practices required to deliver and sustain innovation. Let us enable you make a lasting impact on your overall business.
The pandemic has been awful, yet I&O has an opportunity to lead a renewal that can make a real difference in the lives of others. Let's not waste it.