The Challenge For Innovation In The Enterprise: No Category -- No Budget
Corporations spend a lot of money on IT and some of that money is spent on new products from innovative IT startups.
But it's a hard slog for those startups when they have something truly innovative to sell because who do they sell it to when there is no category for what they have? Who holds the budget for something that didn't exist until a year or two ago?
There's budgets for databases, servers, for networks, and hundreds of other IT components. But where are the budgets for as-yet unknown technologies that could be transformative across the entire business?
Innovate or go home...
Corporations are constantly talking about their need to acquire innovative technologies as a key to survival in this faster-than-ever changing world.
Alan Boehme, Chief Innovation Officer of Coca-Cola, said at a recent CIO conference, he looks for technologies that can give Coca-Cola at least a six months lead over competitors because he can quickly leverage that advantage across the entire organization and its partners.
Companies know that innovation is vital to their futures but they haven't created a process for innovation to come into the organization.
How can innovative startups succeed if budgets are only for the existing catalog of products? It is understandable why there's so many products that provide incremental improvements to existing systems because at least there are budgets. And what if your innovation does away with the need for many IT products? There's no incentive for budget owners to find ways of doing away with their budgets.
Global companies have the scale and the most to gain from rapid discovery and integration of innovative IT technologies. But the year-long internal processes for acquisition and deployment works against their goals of agility and speed to markets.
Innovation in budgets...
We need a better approach to harnessing IT innovation by large enterprises. Maybe it'll come in the form of new executive roles such as Chief Information Architects, that have the means to evaluate the business impact of novel solutions across the entire organization and the budget to acquire it. And then have the communications skills to champion those solutions inside the organization.
Innovation will wither on the vine if there's no budget for it. And enterprises will miss unique opportunities to jump ahead of competitors.