The (r)evolution of IT

For years, we’ve talked about the changing role of corporate IT and how the cloud moves IT away from data center operations and toward being a key differentiator and driver of business evolution. But the time for predictions is over. The availability of data in the cloud has already catalyzed a new era of innovation, and IT leaders are now figuring out how to bridge the historical gap between the business and IT.

In that spirit, how do you support your customers as their operational models for IT evolve to become agile, efficient, and business-focused? In our new e-book, Designed to Disrupt, we show you how businesses transform and create new business models, and how IT organizations adapt and pivot quickly to make the most of new opportunities.

No more long lead times for planning, procurement, development, testing, and deployment. With an increasingly tech-savvy workforce, applications can spin up from anywhere following quick sessions of experimentation and prototyping. And because IT now provides services to the business, it’s incumbent on everyone in IT to be on the lookout for opportunities for transformative change.

New Success Metrics

“My teams and I used to be measured on whether or not we delivered applications on time. Today we’re measured on the quality and volume of business leads our applications generate.”

—Jim Dubois, former Microsoft CIO

This seismic shift demands that you and your customers change how you think about IT and focus hard on business processes. With modern cloud technologies in your arsenal, you can be an engine of innovative change. Start with ideation and experimentation and then build prototypes and proofs-of-concept to show what’s achievable. In real-world examples, proofs-of-concept were usually completed in as little as a few days and no longer than a couple weeks.

As the partnership with the business grows, you must inspire teams from both IT and the business side by helping them see what’s possible. Inspiration is vital to digital transformation. I can’t help but be inspired when I see what Microsoft, our partners, and our customers have accomplished using cloud technologies to make a difference in their businesses.

To demonstrate how your services align to a customer’s digital transformation goals, you can define the business KPIs for each type of service. The chart below shows how the 15 service lines for Microsoft IT are measured by business results. This insight helps IT leaders change perceptions of their own roles to become business leaders who work in IT.

In Designed to Disrupt, we outline how the traditional roles have changed, and identify emerging enterprise IT roles that will become more strategic over time:

Traditional but transforming roles:

  • CIO – freed from running data centers and buying hardware in bulk, becomes a full partner to the business, developing new functionalities that drive new revenue streams.
  • Enterprise architect – continues to look across the expanded IT ecosystem to minimize function duplication.
  • Engineering and DevOps – build applications, test suites, and deployment scripts that enable applications to be built, updated, and deployed continuously to satisfy the demand for frequent change.
  • Information architect – ensures that data models across IT align and that the data maintained by IT is trustworthy and available to both applications and staff.
  • Networking and security teams – ensure that communication to and from networked devices on-premises and in the field is fast and secure.


Emerging roles:

  • Relationship manager – ensures the business has full visibility into IT and that business needs are accurately reflected.
  • Business architect – ensures the business gets the most out of each application.
  • Process engineer – examines the end-to-end business processes and ensure they’re optimally designed and efficient.
  • Cloud architect – selects the most optimal cloud components and designs applications or app systems to fulfill a business need.
  • Data scientist – extracts insight from the masses of collected data to help the business predict the future.

What digital transformation means for your practice and your customers’ organizations will ultimately depend on your new business goals and the nature of the products/services you’ll implement. It’s a big shift from selling things to delivering data-driven services and new digital technologies that can be packaged as intellectual property. It’s a complex process that changes how we work and go to market.

Designed to Disrupt is a great resource to help motivate IT and business leaders to start aligning business strategy to digital transformation opportunities. Check it out and get ready to inspire your customers to innovate.

Level 4 Contributor

“What is the evolution of technology?”

Newton provided the best analogy when he wrote a letter to a colleague, Robert Hooke, stating:

“If I have seen further than others it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”

This demonstrates that technology (a combination of science and engineering) progresses, thanks to the efforts who’ve gone before.

The dynamic this demonstrates, shows us the benefits of using strict methodology in technological development. It removes the need for continually having to reinvent the wheel and all the associated understanding that goes with that.

In simplistic terms; knowing that 1 + 1 = 2, allows us to make intuitive steps in our thinking.

Not applicable

I agree! It's important to know this emerging roles and start hiring people for them or train our existing workforce so that they are more prepared for the future! Grear post!


Yes - IT departments needs to get closer to the business! They need to better understand the business side in order to better know how their solutions can do good. Great times for agile CIOs! 

It's also important to recognize that IT is nowadays often procured directly by the business - here's a recent article in Redmond Channel Partner Magazine that I wrote titled "Partners: It's Time To Embrace 'Shadow IT' "

Tremendous opportunities to sell directly to the business people because not all customers are lucky enough to have agile and rockstar CIOs...


Regards, Per