Companies have always relied on IT to increase efficiencies, and for years IT leaders have talked about better aligning IT with business objectives to spur innovation. What's different today is the sense of urgency.
The global financial crisis, which knocked the stuffing out of IT spending, created pent-up demand for technology, and companies are still in catch-up mode. At the same time, the mainstreaming of new technologies, specifically cloud computing, is putting pressure on organizations to rethink their approach to IT.
"Cloud computing has accelerated the pace of change, undeniably," says Andi Mann, vice president of strategic solutions at CA Technologies. With the availability of cloud services, start-ups in industries such as retail, healthcare and media, for instance, can set up shop without making enormous capital investments in tech. "We've seen new competitors come into crowded markets and totally disrupt those markets, and they can do it on a dime because they don't have to buy infrastructure or set up a data center."
But it isn't just cloud computing. Other disruptive technologies at work include mobile computing, social media and tools such as virtualization that make IT more agile.