iPhone5, the CFO and tech innovation

Apple is due to release a new iPhone in September according to unnamed sources quoted in a report from Reuters, Hong Kong.

That’s almost as interesting as the story earlier in the week from GlobalCIO that ‘business executives not technologists were leading tech innovation’. Several things spring out from the commentary of Infosys VP Ashok Vemuri.

Firstly, and this may be oversensitivity, there is an immediate and unfortunate implication that technologists aren’t business executives.

Secondly, these conversations are taking place with CFOs and COOs plus the odd Marketing and product innovation leader. The latter two I get entirely if we’re talking digital innovation, customer experience and/or product development ….. but without an IT/tech presence …. surely not? A CFO or COO leading and driving tech innovation? Not in my experience of their focus or expertise. One may wonder who is doing their day jobs.

Next … ‘Infosys views tech projects in three big buckets: optimization, which is conventional outsourcing of IT operations and application development, with an emphasis on cost cutting; transformation, which is focused on reinventing the IT systems to support growth initiatives; and business innovation, which includes tech-driven product innovations, efforts like an iPad app for retail employees to check customers out.’ Which bits of this don’t scream IT engagement up front?

Lastly ….”This trend we started seeing last year, where the business has an equal role if not a more than equal role in technology decision-making, is going to stay, and that’s a trend we’re watching very, very closely,” Vemuri says.

In essence, either businesses are running so well that key operational and financial executives can afford to take their eye off the ball and start dipping into new tech (beware the amateur enthusiast and the more facile elements of the consumer driven revolution) or IT truly has become a Utility for anyone to flex.

Just maybe, though, ….. and here is the inner cynic shrieking …. this is just a really cool way to do an end run round IT due diligence. Heaven help the CFO and the COO if it is, as they will own the outcome for both good and bad …. and that could really sting in the morning.

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