October 11, 2016
The new IT: An engine for enterprise innovation
By: Bhaskar Ghosh

One of the biggest changes brought about by digital technology is in how IT services are delivered to enterprises.

The traditional IT services model cast IT as the guardian of enterprise systems; managing services and providing business support. IT provides the tools to enable functions such as payroll, forecasts and accounting; measuring success against metrics including cost, reliability and capability.

This is a model where IT is concerned primarily with optimising core applications to make the business run smoothly. In this model, systems integrators deliver services to the enterprise in a linear waterfall model.

A new model for IT services delivery to drive business growth

This model is now being turned on its head. Thanks to the advent of cloud computing, big data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other key digital technologies, the IT department is transforming into an engine for business growth, and an innovation asset.

IT is increasingly expected to add tangible value to the business; whether by opening new customer channels, creating a differentiated user experience or delivering disruptive digital business models.

The effect of this change is that CIOs and the departments they lead are increasingly focusing on speed, agility and iterative innovation. After all, if the IT department is expected to deliver growth, then it needs to enable continuous innovation at the speed of business; to outpace the competition and win market share.

The central question now facing IT is how they can reduce time-to-innovation and launch new, transformational business and customer services before their competitors. And then continue to do this day in, day out. It is a question that is transforming how IT services are delivered.

Developing an innovation capability

Some of the most exciting work at Accenture centres on helping enterprise IT departments adapt to this new normal and become more innovation-centred.

In practice, this involves integrating artificial intelligence and automation in everything we do. We have also moved from the waterfall model of the past to a "liquid" model that draws on agile development and DevOps methodologies.

As a result, application development becomes liquid, meaning they are developed in the cloud with agility, flexibility and speed at their heart, enabling rapid innovation. They will be augmented with data analytics and machine learning that will put automation at the heart of enterprise IT; freeing operational spend to be reinvested in further innovation while increasing productivity. Finally, applications will be connected to an extent not seen before; able to interact with other platform and ecosystem providers.

Over the course of the next two blogs I am going to take a deeper look at how Accenture is changing to help businesses make use of liquid development.

In the next blog I will start by looking at liquid applications and our approach to enabling them: The Liquid Studios. In the final blog, we will see how Accenture is building AI and intelligent automation into our platforms to help clients create propositions that are truly fit for today’s digital economy.

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