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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

IT as 'Innovation Team': Great Idea

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Laura Smith at SearchCIO provides a compelling look at making IT innovation a reality. Smith spoke to CIOs about the role of IT innovation, and the consensus is that it "has more to do with information than with technology, at least in the beginning. Information not only is the key to designing better products, but also results in better business processes."

But business and IT need to work together to make these improved business processes happen. Lean operations (that's "Lean" with a capital L -- see my feature with Steve Bell about the essence of the Lean movement) bring business and IT teams together to "reduce costs by identifying redundancies in business processes and potential interactions that could delay progress." This means many minds being applied to the problem at hand.

Cited in Smith's article:

  • Steve Dykstra, CIO of American Transmission Company, says IT innovation can help the company address a simple but costly problem -- weeds growing around transmission towers: "One potential solution is a mobile device -- perhaps a tablet -- equipped with ATC's network applications as well as global positioning satellite technology and a camera. With this setup, a technician could take a picture of the weeds, or just point the tablet at them and see whether the landscape is in compliance on that day."
  • Harry Pickett, executive vice president and CTO, Manulife Financial Corp., explained how his company created centers of excellence to innovate across 17 major lines of business: "I don't believe that an innovation team or somebody's going to have a monopoly on good ideas. The question is, how are we going to make that whole experience in Manulife to allow our employees to actually generate good ideas, and how are we going to make them happen within the company itself?"

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

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