The Top Four Tasks of a 21st Century Technology Leader

By Johna Till Johnson
On Aug 13, 2014
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
What should technology leaders be doing in 2014, 2015, and beyond?

That was the top focus of the Nemertes Navigator360 Conference, held July 28-30 in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida.

Nemertes Research gathered with top technology leaders from global innovators including Interpublic Group, Chubb & Sons, Northrop Grumman, Ford Motor Company, Vanguard, Sprint to discuss our visions—and best practices—for technology leadership during the coming years of change.

2014 is a critical year. Information technology (IT) is morphing into enterprise technology (ET), extending out beyond the knowledge- and backoffice-worker base to include field workers, intelligent networks, and machine-to-machine technologies. New paradigms like cloud, mobility, collaboration, and virtualization are reshaping how companies procure and deliver technology services. And the face of the workforce is changing rapidly as baby boomers retire and millennials step up.

In response, technologists must increasingly focus on becoming trusted advisors and innovation leaders for the organizations they serve. And they must prepare to lead a new generation to empower their organizations with new technologies. But how do they do that?

Key highlights from the conference:

Launch an innovation organization. Start by assessing the effectiveness of your innovation organization using the Nemertes Innovation Index ™. Then take a page from the books of innovation leaders like Ford, Chubb, and Air Products and build out an innovation engine based on tried and true best practices from leading-edge R&D efforts around the world.

Leverage, and become, a trusted advisor. To locate trusted advisors that can assist you, partner with vendors that score well in the Nemertes Enterprise Trusted Advisor ™ and Midmarket Trusted Advisor ™ ratings. To become a trusted advisor yourself, engage with lines of business early and often. And build this engagement process into your innovation efforts.

Include these emerging technologies in your roadmap. Sure, you’re up to speed on mobility, cloud, UC, Big Data, and the like. But what’s your stance on DevOps, wearables, network function virtualization (NfV) and SDN? These technologies—and many more—should be part of your comprehensive strategic roadmap.

When it comes to a millennial workforce, think differently. Don’t make the mistake of putting new wine in old wineskins! That is, forget teaching millennials the finer nuances of Cobol and expecting them to step up to take your place managing decades-old legacy systems. Instead, encourage them to build systems that address the changing business processes using next-generation technologies and methodologies like DevOps, PHP, responsive Web, and the like. Then work with them to ensure these systems meet the organization’s requirements for scalability, security, and manageability.