Being in the right place at the right time

When I think about the difference between a great leader and an exceptional one, part of the answer is being in the right place at the right time, whether that means the right organization at the right time, the right industry at the right time, or the right discipline at the right time.

And when I think about the most pressing challenges facing organizations in 2010, one of the most critical is how to transform IT into a strategic, core competency analogous to the transformations manufacturing and supply chain went through in the eighties and nineties. Which means that IT leaders today are in the right place at the right time to be exceptional—if they can manage this transformation.

Over the last three years, I’ve been on engagements at almost fifty organizations, most of them Global 1000 companies, and I can count on one hand the number of truly excellent IT shops I’ve come across. Without a doubt, almost all of them were getting the job done and keeping the lights on—and many of them were excellent in pockets, e.g., the deployment and maintenance of a particular platform, their execution of a particular discipline (network ops, quality assurance), or the support of a single business function or product offering. But as far as living the dream of world-class IT service delivery across the entire IT organization (whether measured against ITIL, COBIT, CMMi, ISO, or some other best practices standard), in my experience such shops are few and far in between.

Given that, I want to kick off a series of posts that think through the where we’re at with IT as a discipline and the implications this has for organizations today and for the folks who lead them (and aspire to do so) on the following topics:

  • IT Transformation – what needs to be done in order to move the discipline of IT from where it is currently to where it needs to be?
  • IT Endgame – what will the discipline of IT look like when it reaches the maturity level manufacturing and supply chain are at today?
  • IT Identity – how useful is “IT” as a distinction? Can we imagine a time when organizations will move past IT? Or will IT as currently structured always be a part of organizations?

And in the spirit of fostering a vibrant community here, I’d like to throw this open to other aspiring authors out there: any of you folks who’d like to contribute posts on these topics, just let me know—The Intentional Leader can be your platform for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and opinions on the future of IT. And if you feel like there are other topics I should include in this series, fire away…would love to expand it based on what you all think about the subject.

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