It's a change that's making more of a soft clatter than a loud crash. Compelled to achieve closer alignment with company needs and business demands, IT has once again entered a time of transformation. Where once IT solely helped support the business, now it must help define the business.
Although tangible change isn't ubiquitous yet, reinvention is happening in force at some of the most influential IT departments in the country. Take Trans World, which runs some 800 music stores worldwide. IT analysts there have been elevated to the project management office, where they now oversee all technology and business projects and all business process changes. At consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, the IT department was first restructured and then merged with human resources, finance, strategic planning and relocation operations in a companywide shared-services organization. IT workers now focus exclusively on high-level, IT-enabled business projects, while routine IT work is sent outside.
The dynamics of IT finance are changing, too. At brokerage firm Insurance House, IT now facilitates the budget dialogue and helps set spending priorities. At Rent-A-Center, new IT initiatives are now designated as capital expenditures, thus giving key IT projects a higher profile.
The well-trodden IT career ladder is being dismantled and rebuilt as well. If you think the path to the top is a straight line, think again. CIOs and IT career experts stress that titles no longer matter much, and following a career path that zigzags from business to IT and back again is a good way for tech staffers to develop business chops.
In the stories below, you'll find more examples of IT reinvented. Have we given you something to think about? In this time of reinvention, fresh thinking is exactly the point.