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For more than 30 years, IS departments have rightly been seen as the company's main support services whose main challenge is still to implement and ensure the operation of secure information systems so as to improve the productivity of organizations through the automation/dematerialisation of their work processes. Their overriding strategic concerns are to align information systems and business strategies, supervise and implement multiannual master plans, centralise infrastructure and move from a customer-supplier to a ‘business-partner’ model. In short, to industrialise, centralise and share, but without truly challenging the fundamental issues in corporate IT and therefore IS-based corporate organization and governance.
In fact, many consultancies have actively encouraged the outsourcing of technical aspects of IS and the internalisation of supervision skills. As a result, the value of internal resources has been objectified in terms of its ability to conduct projects within allocated budgets in compliance with the prevalent methodological norms. IS departments have not been responsible for planning and structuring their companies’ information systems: their resources have been limited to proper execution and compliance with procedure (and not creativity, responsiveness or initiative taking).
Yet now in the digital era, the ‘customers’ of IS departments are no longer a few thousand users, but millions of consumers. To us, this means we must radically change our way of looking at the issue of IT within a company. IS departments are not alone in facing the impacts of digital technology: marketing and communication are equally affected since information technology is now the main tool available to disintermediate existing chains of value.
In this context, how can we develop corporate governance to tackle IS issues, that are linked to productivity, as compared to those related to the ambition of developing new services? Once again, ultimately, it is about ensuring a new consumer experience. Is this not then the right moment to review the ‘partnership’ with marketing and communication and implement repositioning to take into account data and cloud-based IT knowhow?