When studying and talking about the Capgemini offering AIE, Applied Innovation Exchange, I realize that the new black is eco-system.
A few years ago I worked with a financial director of a relatively small company. My assignment was to help him create an IT strategy for the company. In one of our first meetings, he told me, as it was something negative, that his IT department just consists of one person. As I had got an insight into his business and IT landscape I could nicely tell him that he’s wrong. “Your IT department is your own employees and all your suppliers all together, that’s how you have to perceive your IT department”, I said.
He got quiet for a while, and suddenly with a smile, he replied: “Wow, I haven’t thought about it like that, but you are right”.
It really changed his perception of his responsibility of IT, and what capabilities he has on hand to support the business. He really got inspired to continue the IT strategy work, which before was a “must-to-do-task” from the CEO. By the way, the first action out of the IT strategy was to re-negotiate the network agreements, which he later told me was a saving of more than 50%.
This story always reminds me about a far more mature and insightful IT manager, Sture, which was around 60 in the mid-90s.
Sture was an IT manager that always focused on the business, probably the ideal CIO in today’s terms. What always struck me when I think about Sture is how he cared about his suppliers. He managed them as they were his own employees and very important resources for his business. Every year he invited all his suppliers to a Christmas dinner, which in Sweden is a big occasion. Yes, you heard right, in times where it was all about inviting customers to “grease” the relation, Sture did the opposite, he invited his suppliers. I am sure that made him the king of his company.
So, what is the conclusion of this?
To create and maintain an eco-system of suppliers is for any IT/Digital manager a critical success factor today. To secure the right competence when you need it can’t be regulated in a contract. It is very much about individuals that have their own freedom to select. If you make them like to work with you, you are enabled to be a winner in the digital transformation era. The picture above shows the eco-system ten years ago. It has been far more complex today.
AIE is much about setting up a relevant ecosystem and brings different configurations of it into digital innovation cases. The same can an IT/Digital/Innovation manager do to secure success.
So, don’t wait for a second, start to build your own eco-system now!
And, what are your “grease-pits”, how do you attract and maintain relationships with key competence?