Since the 1990s, technology has had the power to transform business. In the current climate, however, this capability has evolved: technology now has the power to enable businesses to transform themselves.

There’s no doubt that technology was a massive help to business in previous decades. The problem was that business technology used to mean technology changing the way people worked. Now, people can make the technology work harder for the way they want to function.

Technologies such as virtualisation and the cloud have consigned a great deal of the traditional approach to history and freed the business customer to start putting the business need at the centre. A good example is the scalable business which grows or shrinks according to demand and might not want to buy X amount of computers and servers which will be used only Y amount of the time. It can now virtualise and simply activate additional servers during peak periods.

Of course, IT transformation means change not only in technology but from the technologists and their colleagues.

Today, the most fruitful CIO-CFO relationships are those in which the CIO is understood to have a strategic role rather than simply that of a cost enabler, because he or she can explain what will be possible to the business, and make it happen. There are still organisations which regard the tech as a drain and the finance as a gatekeeper, and time will tell how they’re going to cope when their sees a more meaningful relationship happening.

Both parties need to realise the potential benefits of working with rather than against their counterparts. There’s no room for empires in this new age; the IT team which is accustomed to working on and guarding all the technology in the business will soon be a thing of the past. Once the transition has been made, though, the IT team and particularly the CIO will find their roles enhanced as innovators rather than as an in-house supplier. With this new model, the business can enjoy enormous scope for productivity and lower cost growth.

Workplaces are also changing, becoming “workspaces” which are defined by outputs rather than where employees are and what hours they are working. Certainly, colleagues working in remote environments will need an entirely different set of skills from their managers if they are to remain productive. And, of course, new risks have been identified and colleagues need careful management and to be informed that the nature of the threats their business faces has changed. In essence, last year’s education needs an update so that the human side can keep pace.

Overall, the change in the nature of technology is to put the business owner and manager back in charge of an organisation. Scalability, the ability to be flexible as to location because cloud computing allows remote workers to behave as if they were in the office, having large business applications hosted for smaller installations – all these things help businesses to focus on where their imagination says they should be rather than where a computer builder says they have to remain constrained.

It starts by bringing the technology in line with the core aims of the business and aligning its structures and methods so it serves the enterprise, which no longer has to compromise.

It’s a whole new means of business transformation – and the technology is enabling it rather than forcing it.