Jeffrey Cohen, CIO of The MENTOR Network, explained how IT works in the era of innovation during his presentation at the 2014 Chief Information Officer Leadership Forum in Boston on March 27. During his presentation, “Disciplined IT in the Era of Innovation,” Cohen noted that IT professionals need to control change and innovate simultaneously, which can be difficult.
According to Cohen, many IT professionals look at IT in their respective organizations as an innovation laboratory. In this scenario, Cohen said, IT professionals often consider themselves part of a separate organization, and some even create their own companies. In addition, integrating new technologies can be difficult for IT professionals, especially if these team members focus exclusively on innovation: “Either the innovation group goes back into the rest of the organization or it becomes an incubator back into the rest of the organization, but that can be very difficult to integrate. It’s also really expensive – to do it right you really have to separate all the pieces to reduce the overlap.”
Talent acquisition, however, is important for organizations, Cohen said. If an organization prioritizes the acquisition of IT talent, Cohen noted, it could hire the top IT professionals to provide support: “It’s hard to find those people because of who you are competing against. Everyone in this room competes against Google and Microsoft and these companies for talent. In my organization, that’s very challenging.”