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Gearing up for growth using multi-speed


Business today consume IT at several speeds all at once. Innovation and digital disruption require quick response, legacy systems call for deliberate care and shifting operating models need a pace of change somewhere in between.

Two speeds are no longer enough for the modern IT organization. Unless CIOs can master the art of delivering change at the pace demanded by each area of the business, they risk being relegated to tending legacy systems.

Multi-speed IT is achieved by bringing together a network of skills, instituting a dynamic operating model and installing flexible governance models. The challenge is great, but the reward for the CIO is a pivotal role in an organization’s strategic business agenda.



Accenture Strategy surveyed more than 900 executives on the need for—and ability to deliver—multi-speed IT. While there is broad agreement on the need, opinions on ability vary greatly.

  • Eighty-eight percent of executives believe that the IT organization needs to broaden its scope and keep pace with evolving needs of the business.

  • Seventy percent of executives believed they or their IT organization could operate and simultaneously support multiple business objectives, or “multi-speed IT.”

  • Eighty-one percent of executives stated that most IT organizations do not know how to operate effectively while supporting multiple objectives at the same time.

Gearing up for growth using multi-speed IT
CIOs are balancing demands—keeping the lights on while being pulled by digital’s fast-moving influence.




CIOs can calibrate their IT organizations to deliver at variable speeds by following these steps:

  1. Recognize the business need for IT consumption at different speeds.
    IT needs to be multi-speed to be relevant; which means the IT operating model needs to change.

  1. Employ multiple governance and methods.
    Governance needs to support multiple ways of operating. Agile and iterative methods can support faster changing user experiences, while traditional waterfall methods are still relevant to core systems of record.

  1. Rethink architecture needs.
    Segment the technology landscape into multiple speeds to align to business consumption and pace of change. Simplify the legacy architecture for greater agility and to reduce cost pressures. Build in an API layer to expose core data to faster moving digital channels and ecosystem partners.

  1. Invent the new IT organization.
    Take a good look at the IT agenda to determine where new skills are required to support the multi-speed agenda. Teams should be skilled in new methods like iterfall and agile; and new tools and techniques like DevOps, APIs.

Nicholas Bayley

Nicholas Bayley
Managing Director – Accenture Strategy
IT Strategy

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John Shacklady

John Shacklady
Managing Director – Accenture Strategy
Technology Strategy

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