Gartner: Innovation and accountability

Summary:Organisations that hope to prosper despite any recession, need to implement a formal IT strategy. And if they haven’t started on one already, they need to move fast.

Organisations that hope to prosper despite any recession, need to implement a formal IT strategy. And if they haven’t started on one already, they need to move fast.

This was perhaps a key message to come out of Gartner’s Symposium and IT Expo taking place this week in Las Vegas.

The analysts believe that the only way forward for all companies is through innovation and part of that, they made clear, was a formal strategy of developing innovation using technology as the tool to achieve the right result.

“Integrating emerging technologies is an important source of innovation for the business,” said Jackie Fenn, Gartner vice president on Monday.

“Innovation initiatives may emerge from ideas generated by the business or from research areas, such as the IT organization's Emerging Technologies Group (ETG),” said Fenn. “Organizations should exploit both idea channels and map clear links between their business goals, business projects and emerging technology planning.” Fenn stressed the importance of an organisations emerging technology group (ETG) which would be a group of individuals from across the business, brought together to help identify promising new ideas. These ideas could be developed into products or business strategies. Many IT companies, such as HP and Cisco have ETG’s helping to drive their research.

“Although the ETG is responsible for delivering a strategy for emerging trends and technologies, the extended team needs diversity in background, current role or responsibility, business or IT orientation and generational knowledge,” Fenn said.

Perhaps one of here key messages was accountability. Who was responsible for what?

It was crucial to work out the accountability for thinking up ideas, developing them and implementing them, she said. Too often the accountability rested solely with IT, she thought, when it should be part of the business.

But according to Gartner research, only “a few organisations are beginning to place the direct accountability with business units”. Overall, Gartner believes that two thirds (66 percent) of the largest organisations (those in the Global 1000) believe that they will have a form technology innovation process in place by 2010.

This suggest that the road to the innovative company of the future promises to be long and hard one for many. But as we know from examples like Google, some companies find it a lot easier.

Topics: After Hours


Colin has been a computer journalist for some 30 years having started in the business the same year that the IBM PC was launched, although the first piece he wrote was about computer audit. He was at one time editor of Computing magazine in London and prior to that held a number of editing jobs, including time spent at the late DEC Compu... Full Bio

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