By Alex Jarett
IT is a role with many faces and many personalities. In one of the last episodes of Mad Men, as the 50’s generation is leaving and prior to Don Draper teaching the world to sing with Coke, the big Computer rolls into the office and takes over an entire section of the office, displacing many of the advertising agency workers. In a drunken state, Don says sternly to the IT Guy, “ You talk like a friend, but you’re not. I know your name… you go by many names. I know who you are.” Don’s anger showed his resentment at the change he knew the computer represented.
The IT role has transformed from efficiency expert, to automation expert to job replacement expert, to operations and process experts. But it has only been in recent years that the IT Leader has been able to replace its “nerdy” persona with different personalities, such as cool, wise or even ruthless leader. Think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Elison. In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of disruptive technology. We’ve seen new companies emerge that change or create entire industries, like Amazon, or Uber, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, to name a few.
We’ve all watched with interest, how these leaders used disruptive industries and created vast fortunes for themselves and their shareholders. The difference for these companies, we have all thought, is that they aren’t saddled with huge infrastructures. They’ve had the ability to start agile, with the newest technology and scale immediately.
But that is changing! Disruption from within the Mid-sized and Enterprise companies have emerged. Companies like Starbucks that introduced its cell phone app in 2011 and became a leader in mobile pay, not only growing revenue but also creating loyalty awards. Mobile pay has become an industry. Or Chase, whose APPs allow you to do all of your banking on your phone, including cashing checks and taking credit cards! The insurance industry has also undergone drastic change in every aspect of the business ranging from buying insurance to making your claim!
We’ve watched for years while the startups get all of the funds and the glory. Now it’s our turn. CIOs, CTO and Other Senior Technology leaders can no longer make that claim that this disruption, that this huge opportunity is only for start ups. Now the disruption can come from within our great companies that already have the customers!
You just have to take that first step and decide that you are going to be the one to do it!