The Next-Gen IT Department

By Abigail A. Lorden, Editor-in-Chief | March 04, 2013

Ever since the smartphone turned average consumers into multi-tasking information junkies with perma-FoMO (Fear of Missing Out), technology executives have been under pressure to get in lock-step with their marketing peers. Trade pubs (including HT, guilty as charged) called it the “CIO/CMO Collaboration Imperative,” which basically meant that businesses were under pressure to reach consumers whose faces had become glued to their mobile devices. Doing so required that technology teams got up-to-speed on digital marketing tools.

Meanwhile, “the cloud” has been trending, as more and more applications are developed that ease the burden of building and running on-premise IT systems. SaaS and IaaS are bringing yet another change for IT executives, as budgets and resources transition from internal assets to external service providers. Our 2013 Restaurant Technology Study reflects this trend. The portion of IT budgets spent on internal personnel dropped from 38% in 2011 to 21% in 2013. Meanwhile, dollars spent on external service providers increased 5% during the same time period.

One hotel CIO recently told me that the long-standing model of technology operations — Plan/Build/Run — is outdated. The new direction, he said, is toward Broker/Integrate/Orchestrate, and CIOs now need more business savvy than technology expertise.

I asked this month’s cover subject, Chris Laping, Sr. V.P of business transformation and CIO for Red Robin, about the shift away from Plan/Build/Run, and he agreed that there’s definitely a need for a change. Laping believes that IT leaders should go after a larger change-management role at their companies. He details this in our cover story on page 12. Whether or not you embrace that approach, technology is certainly evolving and IT departments will need to evolve along with it. Don’t let FoMO hold you back.


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