Published: 18 November 1998
Analyst(s): Emily A. Andren, Fred Magee, Simon Mingay, Jonathan Furlonger
The idea that change is a period of transition between two periods of stability is rapidly disappearing. Periods of stability in the business and IT environments are getting shorter. Product life cycles are shrinking, as are the life cycles of the supporting business processes. Many of these changes require modifications to the IT infrastructure, putting the IS organization on the critical path to business change. The IS organization is also faced with continual change in the technical environment, which means everything becomes a legacy system and takes on the incumbent problems in less than two years. Consequently, CIOs and IT managers are faced with the challenge of changing the direction of the IT assets and the IS organization, which supports and produces those assets. Achieving flexibility is a key issue. IS organizations are considering modular structures such as competency centers and shared services as a way to create greater levels of flexibility. The distribution in the use of and control of IT assets throughout the enterprise has changed and is continuing to change the way the IS organization is organized. Many end users are frustrated with the unresponsiveness of their IS group and its apparent high costs, and are only partially aware of the complexity of the environment that the IS group supports. These users increasingly take on IT roles themselves and turn to external services providers (ESPs) as an alternative source of IT services and skills. The result is often an adversarial relationship between IS professionals and nontechnical business users, which inhibits the enterprise's ability to develop an integrated information system. In recognition of the end-to-end technical relationships built into their distributed systems, enterprises are increasingly taking a systemic view of their infrastructure, applications and support organization to evaluate how changes to one stage affects the whole. The challenge to reduce the complexity and cost of...
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