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“The key success factor is not to build governance structure that tries to control the evolution of IT but actually to build structures that recognizes and adapts to the IT evolution.”

Articles and research about disruptive trends and digitalization overwhelm us. Forces such as social media, mobility, big data, and cloud services are buzzwords that will re-shape the future – both in IT and business. But how should we view digitalization? Is it a third industrial revolution or just part of industrial evolution? It is important to understand digitalization to find the right tools to master it.

From my point of view, IT has been in constantmovement since its breakthrough in 1960-1970s. It is a living organism that re-shapes itself based on Darwin’s theories on evolution. What we can say with certainty is that the level of change and unpredictability will continue to expand with consequences for governance and strategy. An endless flow of innovations, start-ups and new ideas that challenge our view of IT – where the most “fitted” will survive.  Moments of stability are rare to find. Digitalization is not the beginning of the end of IT evolution – it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

In our quest to understand, we build a hypothesis that IT goes through different phases of stability (now we are in digitalization era) where we can apply our governance models and structures. New long-term strategies, delivery structures and performance contracts are set-up for this period of stability to optimize cost efficiency or business value. But nothing can be further from the truth as there are no periods of stability – only a constant evolution re-shaping IT and business with different levels of uncertainty. The old hypothesis and governance does therefore not work – confirmed by 75% of managers in recent surveys.

The key success factor is not to build governance structure that tries to control the evolution of IT but actually to build structures that recognizes and adapts to the IT evolution. To adapt to new innovation and disruptive trends. To build governance models and strategies that are flexible “fitted” to guarantee survival in the future.

My recommendations:

  • Set-up dynamic governance models that adapts to the evolution of IT and high uncertainty.
  • Be very focused on what your current priorities and goals are – live in the moment.
  • Do not see digitalization as era of stability but rather a moment in evolution.
  • Build your own opinion on how IT will evolve and how it affects you.

The research is telling a story about how digitalization will change the world. It is fascinating and true story that we need to adapt to in order to build success in the future. Digitalization is only one phase in the IT evolution. Innovation will continue to drive evolution onwards. The lesson to learn is not to build structure and models to control evolution but rather flexible and adaptive structure that recognize change and uncertainty. This is my view on how digitalization should be viewed and mastered.

– Hans Gillior
Hans Legend 1