Innovation is frequently hampered by ingrained organizational concerns that IT leaders must address, ranging from inefficient IT operations to an inability to up skill at a rapid rate.
The majority of IT leaders today say they have become the primary champions of digital transformation within their companies, indicating that innovation is a CIO imperative. There are, however, a number of roadblocks that could prevent CIOs and their IT teams from meeting that demand for innovation. Managing day-to-day operations, enabling cross-functional teams, and transferring innovative ideas from the lab to operations are just a few of the hurdles.
When it comes to IT innovation, each organization will confront its own set of challenges, but here are a few of the most significant ones.
Inefficient IT processes
Legacy technology, antiquated processes and technical debt continue to be major roadblocks to IT innovation, as CIOs must devote time and resources to managing and maintaining inefficient infrastructure.
According to McKinsey’s May 2021 report Managing Tech Transformations, 87 percent of polled leaders cited the “complexity of existing infrastructure” as a major hurdle to deploying next-generation services. As a result, CIOs are looking for help from their IT providers for simplifying and optimizing the legacy environment, according to the survey. This would allow for digital transformation by freeing up funding and resources that are currently being used to keep the lights turned on.
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CIOs have been advised to form partnerships with their executive colleagues for years, but many have failed to enable effective collaboration between IT staff and their counterparts across the firm.
Because technology is so crucial to innovation, IT must be at the core of the ecosystem; but, if there is no strong means for IT to collaborate with other departments, innovation will be hampered. To build more partnerships across the company, innovation experts advocate that CIOs adopt agile development approaches, create innovation Centers of Excellence and foster a product mindset.
No system in place to support innovation
While connecting employees across the company is a good start, experienced leaders warn that a lack of framework for assessing and approving suggestions could result in the production of novelty items that serve no real function for the company.
To avoid this, experts say innovation teams require ways to filter and prioritize ideas for their potential, as well as to demonstrate that their ideas work and can provide results.
A skewed perception of CIO success
Experienced IT innovators say that CIOs who want to innovate must first prove they can run their day-to-day operations flawlessly. However, some CIOs expend so much time and effort to creating a well-oiled IT machine that they neglect to invest enough time and effort in developing innovation capabilities within themselves and their teams.
There is a set of CIOs who may be excellent IT managers, who can manage budget and time, and who can run the machine. Then there’s the select group of CIOs who can manage change. They are innovative and encourage their teams to come up with new ideas. They understand how to work with third parties. They are not afraid to take chances, be brave, and attempt new things.
No designated time for innovation
According to the 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report from Dice, one in three technologists stated they were burned out.
This isn’t only a problem for HR; it’s also a problem for CIOs, because stressed-out IT professionals don’t have the time or energy to commit to the kind of innovative thinking that lead to breakthroughs.
Inability to scale innovations
Even today, one of the most significant hurdles to innovation is the difficulty to move an idea from proof of concept to operational at a large scale.
Too many businesses fail to create a system that can quickly provide governance, integration, security, and other resources to innovations that have proven themselves in testing and are ready to be deployed more widely. As a result, these ideas either perish or are whittled down as they are operationalized; in either case, the value that the innovations may have provided is diminished.