IS Organisational Capabilities: The Source of Sustained Performance

The advent of new digital technologies – such as social media, mobile, analytics and embedded devices – not only offer the means to digitally transform the way we do business; they present significant challenges for most IS organisations. ‘Being digital’ is different to traditional IT; it involves taking a different perspective on how the business operates and how digital enablement is provided. It requires new and different capabilities that are not yet fully understood or appreciated.

Equally, how IT organisations operate is changing significantly and gone are the days when they deliver everything. Today, and increasingly in the future, the IS delivery model is dependent upon external vendors and partners that are sourced globally. As a result, they are becoming more virtual and their ecosystem is broadening and deepening in ways that require new and different capabilities to ensure delivery success.

Traditionally, developing these capabilities has focused on training, improving processes, implementing best-practice frameworks and changing organisational structures. While these are necessary, they do not address the central need to develop the contemporary IS organisational capabilities needed to meet today’s challenges and realise tomorrow’s opportunities.

In this Formicio Point of View we define what we mean by IS organisational capabilities and why they are important. We discuss how existing organisational capabilities define how the IS organisation currently operates and why new capabilities are needed for IS leaders to have any chance of changing their organisation’s trajectory away from its default future to a target – improved – future. We also provide a simple method for assessing the contribution of organisational capabilities and offer four ways in which they can be put in place.

We hope you will find it interesting and helpful.

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David Trafford
Peter Boggis