The Magic Duo: Product-Centric IT and AI for Unprecedented Success
Faced with constant disruption, the convergence of two transformative forces, Product-Centric IT and AI, emerges as a magic duo.
Gone are the days when technology merely supported operations; today, it drives strategic decision-making and fuels growth. As CIOs embrace a product-centric approach, aligning technological initiatives with value-driven outcomes, AI will play an expanding role.
At Frontier, we believe that product-centric operating models are absolutely essential to strategic success. That’s why they’re part of what we call holistic AI, an approach we recommend to clients.
The Emergence of Product-Centric IT:
Traditionally, IT departments have operated as cost centers, tasked with supporting business operations and maintaining infrastructure. However, the rise of disruptive technologies and the need for continual innovation have given birth to a new paradigm – product-centric IT.
In this approach, IT departments transform into product teams, developing and managing technology-driven products that directly impact the organization’s value proposition.
Product-centric IT focuses on understanding the needs of internal and external users, with an emphasis upon outcomes.
By adopting an entrepreneurial mindset, product-centric teams align technology investments with business goals, ensuring that every IT initiative delivers tangible value and enhances the organization’s competitive edge.
It might sound silly, but many IT and digital transformation projects fail because they don’t deliver what internal users want. Sillier yet, users were never asked. Product-centric IT includes the use of Design Thinking to make sure real user problems are solved.
Additionally, systems thinking increasingly plays a role in explicit recognition of the complexity of modern orgs. As complexity increases, it becomes harder to predict the effect of any single initiative without a broader systems consideration.
Accelerate Product-Centricity via AI:
Artificial intelligence, especially via Large Language Models (LLMs) with their ability to analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and generate insights, has emerged as a game-changer.
The question of the day is how, where and when to adopt AI across the enterprise. The burden of this task is made far worse by waiting for a top-down approach grand-plan “AI strategy”.
Too often, AI becomes a kind of “special project” owned by technically elite people or those who self-assign themselves the role of AI specialist.
It’s far easier to “divide and conquer” by allowing product teams to decide for themselves how best to deploy AI without permission – it simply comes out of their budget. Of course, they are then accountable for its success, but this is more likely than via the “big bang” approach.
Without a product-centric approach, AI projects are in danger of never taking off or failing altogether.
Via the product approach, the product teams can decide for themselves how when and why to use AI, including a more direct approach (that we call Direct AI). This accelerates unlocking the “AI bounty” of tapping into business value that lurks in data and processes.
A more Lean approach is possible by slowly equipping each team with the know-how needed to exploit AI, like our holistic AI approach.
Becoming an AI-first Organization
Disrupters have touted the phrase “AI-first”, but what does it mean and why might product-centric organizations get there first?
When it comes to “AI strategy”, there are two potential paths.
Hopefully, it should be obvious that a far more effective and efficient way to become AI-first is to let each product team ask, and answer, the question: what should we do differently because of AI?
Product teams can answer far quicker and more efficiently than any top-down approach.
The convergence of product-centric IT and AI presents an unparalleled opportunity for CIOs to propel their organizations towards accelerated business performance. By shifting focus from a support function to a value-centric approach, CIOs can harness the power of AI far quicker and more efficiently via agile product teams.