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CIO Upfront: A primer for mastering ‘multi-speed IT’

CIO Upfront: A primer for mastering ‘multi-speed IT’

CIOs who can build this capability into the DNA of their organisations have the opportunity to place IT – and themselves – at the epicentre of the digital business revolution, writes Nikhil Ravishankar of Accenture NZ.

Nikhil Ravishankar: 'There is a rapid shift from Millennials to Generation C, the Connected Consumer.'
Nikhil Ravishankar: 'There is a rapid shift from Millennials to Generation C, the Connected Consumer.'


It is no longer new news, we are in an era where technology and consumer expectations are evolving faster than most organisations’ ability to adapt.

Always connected, Generation C is no longer defined by age but unites demographics to form dynamic tribes based on interests and behaviour with “Liquid Expectations”, not bound by industry silos or to individual brands. These consumers are shared not owned. The call to action for established organisations to succeed in this environment is to create an environment that values speed, service experience, experimentation and ecosystem – the multi-speed IT architecture provides a blueprint to address this challenge.

Success in this environment starts with empathy. It’s not about broadcasting, it’s about narrow-casting (preferences, attitudes, and behaviour driven interactions).

Digital relationships are about shifting from reach to relevance and past segmentation to individualisation, where interactions and experience are shaped around the individual. Every individual's service experience is unique, and products and services are constantly evolving as data is used intelligently and in real-time to deliver and monetise these services.

This level of personalisation and convenience is the new table-stakes consumer expectation, set mainly by ‘100 per cent digital’ experiential (and ‘asset-light’) players who are winning by adopting ‘digital-only’ architectures and leveraging assets and infrastructure not generally ‘owned’ by them.

Unlike these experiential digital businesses, most organisations, to successfully compete, will need to meet these same consumer expectations within an already operational environment with pre-existing people, processes, infrastructure and assets. In most cases, these existing capabilities have been designed primarily for operational efficiency, reliability and control rather than service experience optimisation.

Read more: Internet of Things spectrum: Cool, hot to extreme

The call to action for established organisations to succeed in this environment is to create an environment that values speed, service experience, experimentation and ecosystem – the multi-speed IT architecture provides a blueprint to address this challenge.

Nikhil Ravishankar, Accenture NZ


Leveraging the same enabling technologies that have allowed the experiential players to drive digital disruption - big data and analytics, APIs, and digital channel enablers – the multi-speed IT architecture, via a three-layer framework, balances the need for strong foundational capability. It represents value of speed, service experience, experimentation and open ecosystems, while recognising the value and identity of each layer of the architecture:

Read more: ‘The cloud is ready for primetime in the enterprise’: Accenture
  • Leverage and evolve the core: Even the most experiential businesses today require core foundational infrastructure (mostly achieved by leveraging 3rd-party assets); however, as more and more value shifts to the experiential layer, there is a need to simplify, modernise and ‘right-size’ the core capabilities.
  • Action data (both internal and external): Exploit the “data driven enterprise” to provide a superior experience, drive operations optimisation and monetise data, shifting focus from the speed of data collection to speed of decision and time to insight.
  • Exploit the APIs: Implement the openness required to support collaboration in a value fabric – a mesh of interwoven, cooperating organisations and individuals.
  • Put experience-led design at the heart of the digital operations: The “personas” are at the centre of the customer, employee and partner experience which need to be designed at clock-speed and powered by insight.
  • Keep customers engaged: Adapt in real time to connected consumer behaviours, interests, and attitudes.

Read more: Doing business with Justin Gray of Accenture New Zealand

Innovation and digital disruption require quick response, legacy systems call for deliberate care and focus and multi-speed IT provides a blueprint to succeed in this environment.

By mastering multi-speed IT CIOs will be able to drive business innovation that can fuel growth and high performance. However, critical changes to the IT operating model are required to support this architecture and CIOs who can build this capability into the DNA of their organisations have the opportunity to place IT – and themselves – at the epicentre of the digital business revolution.

Read more: ​Gartner forecasts 5.5 million new ‘Internet of Things’ connections daily in 2016

Nikhil Ravishankar is the communications, media and technology lead for Accenture New Zealand.

Send contributions to 'CIO Upfront' to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

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Tags IT infrastructurecustomer focuschange managementAccenture New ZealandmillennialsCIO roleaccenturegeneration CconsumerdigitalCEO and CIOsArchitectureCloudcollaborationdisruptionAPI

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