I started with technology at the age of 9, when my mother sent me to a MS-DOS course as an extra-school activity while she was working. And now, I even have more fun with it since the role of technology has evolved from automating the business to actually being the business.
But after all this time in tech, I have realized the element that ties all the technology together is people.
Indeed, it is all about the team. Technology is fun and exciting, but without a purpose, it’s meaningless.
If you would like to get in touch with me, whether it be for tech support, a business partnership, or to just say hi, feel free to send me an email or a tweet. My email address is: [email protected] and my Twitter is: @ifuentes.
If you prefer, you can connect with me on LinkedIn.
And if you haven't already, be sure to check out our tech publication: Bluekiri and all my bike rides on Strava so you can join me in the sunny and beautiful island of Mallorca.
Here it is my Résumé of Sorts.
Business and technology executives should work together to reimagine how technology delivers business value and competitive advantage.
Business innovation and disruption are rapidly changing the scope, pace, and scale of technology work.
Yet despite the convergence of technology and business strategies, data from different surveys suggests that CIOs and other technology leaders still struggle with a lingering perception of IT as reactive oriented rather than business driver. Only some of these business leaders agree that the technology organization and its leaders should be deeply involved in developing enterprise business strategy.
In my view of reimaging the role of technology I have identified five significant ideas that are changing the role of technology in organizations.
Technology teams should continue to maintain operational excellence (so far, their primary function) but because business and technology strategies are now tie, technology work should evolve to focus on hand-in-hand collaboration with business teams to create together differential value.
In addition, because of the growing demand for rapid and efficient delivery of services and capabilities (toghether with best consumer-grade online experiences) many technology teams are shifting from traditional project and process-focused operating models to those that are more product and outcome-centric, which prioritize cross-functional collaboration, acceleration of time-to-customer value and other user/customer needs, and business outcomes.
Automation, cloud, and as-a-service technology models are taking root, streamlining and speeding IT delivery, and changing the way technology teams and business functions work, collaborate, and create value. And they’re helping eliminate some tactical and operational work and move the rest to machines and service providers.
As technology teams shift from service providers to business cocreators, their worth likely will lie in the value they deliver to the business rather than in the services they deliver.
In the service delivery world, IT is typically viewed as a cost center (even an expensive one), with CIOs charged to deliver services at the lowest possible cost. The average IT department invests more than half of its technology budget on maintaining business operations and spends only a small part on building new business capabilities.
My opinion is that if technology teams are to drive innovation and be change agents, reducing costs should take a back seat to strategically investing to increase revenue, growth or other measurements of business and shareholder value. CIOs in “digital vanguard” organizations (those with well defined digital strategies and highly regarded IT departments) already allocate less than half of their budgets to business operations and more than 25 percent to innovation. In the next three to five years, they plan to further reduce the operations allocation to a third of their annual budget while increasing innovation funding to almost 40 percent. For CIOs, understanding about financial returns and articulating the value of technology investments can help drive forward their new roadmap.
When technology and business strategies merge, the technology function is a codriver of innovation and cocreator of revenue driven by technology investments. “IT needs to demonstrate an innovation agenda,” says Jo-ann Olsovsky, Salesforce CIO. “A company has to feel that IT is a change agent that’s positioning the business for the future.”
When it comes to risk, technology leaders primary focus has been cybersecurity. While cybersecurity will always be critical, leaders also should focus on business resilience and risks and disruptions inherent to having a combined business-technology strategy—risks whose reach extends beyond traditional IT environments into factories and other workspaces, products, and even customer locations. Because digitally connected customers will now have access to data through a incredible high set of channels that all need to be secure and resilient, this should include integrating security into product design and development.
One of my most important responsibilities is to develop the next generation of leaders. As it turns out, it’s also what I enjoy most about my job. When I mentor someone, I ask them in return to pull two more leaders forward with them. If you don’t have a mentoring program in your organization, set one up. Your employees will develop stronger relationships and share insights and skills. And the emphasis you put on their professional growth will make them feel more valued.
Practicing these behaviors will boost your team’s success and encourage an environment of respect across your organization. You’ll be seen as a leader, not as a boss.
Take some time to step back, analyze your leadership style and look for ways to improve. Is there room for more humility? Can you relinquish some control? And are you personally invested in every employee’s success?
Ask yourself these questions and then make it a priority to empower your team. Once you start “walking the walk” of servant leadership, you’ll see your people shine. So does your business.
Iñaki Fuentes, 2020.