CIOs urged to simplify and standardise IT systems to allow for innovation

Organisations have been urged to simplify and standardise their IT systems to free up time and resources for innovation.

Organisations have been urged to simplify and standardise their IT systems to free up time and resources for innovation.

Kurt Salmon, a strategy advisory firm, warned this week that many companies are being held back from innovating by their outdated IT infrastructure.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, practice leader Darryl Salmons urged CIOs to simplify and standardise their IT systems to free up space for innovation.

"It is important to make sure you have the right architecture framework in place. What stops a lot of CIOs bringing in new technology is they are dealing with complex legacy architecture," he said.

Employees may have innovative ideas, but unless organisations have the right IT governance in place, they will struggle to implement them, he warned.

"It is about making sure you have your strategy and governance right, that you have the right management in place in terms of managing your partners, you have integrated technology correctly, and you have the right designs for service management," he said.

Balancing conflicting demands

Salmons, until recently CIO at the Financial Services Authority (FSA), acknowledged that CIOs face an almost impossible task, balancing conflicting demands internally and externally.

"You have executive management wanting to take out costs, wanting CIOs to be more effective, to make sure the systems are secure and are up and running all the time," he said.

"At the same time there are other pressures from outside - customise, be more open, be more agile.

"Then you have regulatory compliance, which in financial services in particular is driving the agenda of CIOs.

"You have to take into account all these different agendas so you have a vision, strategy, roadmap, and you know what you want to achieve and how to achieve it," he said.

Salmons advised CIOs to focus on four key principles to help them navigate through the maze of conflicting priorities.



 Standardisation  Modularisation


  • Optimise processes
  • Use common functions
  • Use common architectures
  • Use market standards
  • Consistent interfaces
  • Common architectures
  • Common business process
  • Create reusable process
  • Create reusable functions
  • Eliminate complex structures
  • Link business and IT processes
  • Buy off-the-shelf
  • Do not customise


Governance processes

Having the right governance processes in place is key to helping CIOs prioritise the right projects, Salmons said.

"Global governance means you can understand what the demand is, manage your portfolio of protects, and agree with the business how best to prioritise limited resources to build the things they want," he said.

A lot of organisations struggle with taking ideas forward unless they have the proper governance in place.

Darryl Salmons is hosting at a CIO briefing on IT innovation on 22 September.

Sign up to Computer Weekly to download research and resources on innovation

Read more on IT risk management