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Date: 2022-08-06 09:04:02
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There are a few reasons we need to solve for innovation debt:
The Changing Value Proposition of IT: In some organizations, IT has been historically seen as a required service or a necessary evil. But the COVID-19 pandemic has changed this perspective and demonstrated the strength, flexibility and resiliency of IT to their respective organizations. IT has become a nimble provider and enabler of services in a new and dynamic time. CIOs cannot step backward from this new position. We need to capitalize on it. We are now seen as the innovators, and we need to keep pressing forward.
The Rapid Pace of Change of Technology: For platforms that are not consumed as-a-service or a subscription, IT faces another dilemma: the fast pace of change in technology. Over the last few years, tech vendors have been bringing innovation to the market faster than ever. Failing to look at and evaluate these new offerings weakens the value proposition of IT and the innovation it can bring. Innovation debt will mount faster than ever before because of the new market forces. If action isn’t taken, the cost of future upgrades will not only increase, but the amount of change will be enormous. Large-scale, major implementations are always more difficult than bite-size chunks.
The second method is related to your organizational approach to adopting as-a-service or subscription service models. If you implement an as-a-service model but do not have an innovation or continuous improvement effort, you are creating waste. At Oakland County, we have continuous improvement projects for our Office 365, GIS and Okta platforms (to name a few) and will be following the same plan for Workday. It is the future of the IT business model.
Consider these opportunity cost factors:
Business process transformation and automation: Business process transformation is essential to driving cost efficiency. Leveraging technology to automate non-value-added tasks is critical for saving money and improving citizen experience. Carrying innovation debt makes business process transformation difficult if not impossible.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning: These emerging technologies are coming baked in to solutions every day. The problem is that governments are not using them because applications and services are not being maintained. These technologies are becoming easier to use and may not require the unique skill sets previously needed to get them off the ground.
Security improvements and response: Security threats are becoming more complex every day. The ability to react and respond is essential. We have learned from recent incidents that newer technology is easier to protect and remediate than legacy systems. Innovation debt is a force multiplier in the inability to respond effectively to a security event.
Information-driven architecture: Information, which is nothing more than meaningful data, is the reason any system exists. The design of modern systems focuses on an information-based design. This design principle facilitates the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, improved security, public data transparency and the use of enterprise conversational technologies. Failing to remove innovation debt will increase costs when it comes to an information-driven architecture.
EJ Widun is chief technology officer of Oakland County, Mich.