Balancing Governance & Innovation - A Corporate Challenge
In recent years, the speed of innovation, particularly within the Singaporean software development industry has skyrocketed. This relentless forward momentum has left many old-world corporate industries lagging far behind. Example institutions that have been hardest hit are insurance, banking, utility companies, the public sector and so on. These industries are typically of significant size, with a tendency toward strict frameworks of governance. At the same time, are industries that are perhaps not viewed as attractive career options by young app developers in Singapore.
IT change in these firms is typically driven by a fairly traditional type of CIO, who must balance the need for change alongside internal politics, rigid governance, and a history of things being done in a specific manner. Executives that rise to the top in organizations such as these are generally stalwarts of the firm with 30 years or more of internal experience. This experience of the company culture itself provides the Executive with the connections and network to drive change. Rapid technology change is not always seen as a desirable state in such firms by the Directors in charge, and it is easy to see why young IT professionals can become disenchanted quickly, exiting in favor of an exciting position in a technology startup.
As far as the enterprise application development sphere goes all is not lost. There are typically two types of executive at play in these firms. The sales focused Director who favors speed and agility over core platforms and governance, and his/her operational counterpart who is likely to be more conservative. Typically, a balance can be struck between the two, and this often leads to a strategy, sometimes referred to as two speed IT. The practice of two speed IT usually involves a separation of functions within the traditional IT department. The core IT team continues to maintain and build up stable core technologies, with an innovation team split off (often supported by Marketing/Sales managers). The innovation teams responsibility is to test new ideas and develop them fast using local app developers or even an external software development company. This practice of dividing the IT department is common amongst Singaporean corporate businesses.