As Chief Information Officer of Red Hat, Mr. Congdon is the innovative mind behind the company’s global information systems. With a career that began as an IT manager and developer, Mr. Congdon understands the costs of legacy systems—in both IT and business units.
Arguably, the race toward a knowledge-based society stirred with the Space Age. Technological developments, miniaturization, and an ever-increasing need for speed in both information transfer—and staying ahead of the learning curve—have not slowed since.
Staying relevant during rapid transition
In discussing the digital transition, Mr. Congdon highlighted the challenges pressing the redefinition of relationships between IT departments and their business partners. To deliver products, build profit, and stay relevant, enterprises must consider:
- Re-framing IT and business partner interaction: The legacy style of defined boundaries between IT and business units is history. Instead of distinct departments competing on costs, jointly developed solutions between the technical and business sides serve the entire enterprise in its goal of marketplace relevance.
- IT skills development: By better understanding the language of its business partners, IT units can better serve the larger goals of the enterprise. Notes Mr. Congdon on the changing role of IT, “…instead of just working with their business partner to select an Agile Portfolio, implement it over time, assist in the change management and so on, IT organizations now must bring offers to the table to either reduce costs, or more importantly, to increase revenue. They also must implement offers independently but with a level of success equal or greater to that in the past.”
- Changing services: Developments such as SaaS and mobile apps offer important efficiencies and services to business—and opportunities to utilize IT operations in different ways. Mr. Congdon describes this transition, “Mature IT organizations have solid partnerships with their business and they are able to understand the context of their work. In the future, it is going to be even more important for IT organizations to assume a greater business leadership role while at the same time ceding technology leadership to other parts of the organization. Because, in many cases, not only can the business do it themselves – it’s possible they are already doing it themselves.”
Toward a more collaborative future
We talked earlier about the importance of an engaged business ecosystem. Open organizations such as Red Hat are a flat, opt-in environment ripe for innovation and engagement at all levels. Next post, we’ll share comments from Mr. Congdon on his view of open organizations.