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Business driven IT and IT as an enabler…

9 April 2007

   

Business driven IT and IT as an enabler… 

 

IT should be a enabler for the business to grow and expand and not just be another cost center and a big line in the budget. Top management of a company must and should recognize the IT-department as an asset for the company and an opportunity to create new channels for business, as well as make the current channels work more efficiently. 

 

It feels like the IT-Industry still is suffering of a hangover since the happy days in 1999-2000, when everything was possible and there were no limits, either to size of projects or budget. The is a more mature and cost conscience view upon IT in on the global market today and all IT-proffesionals should respect and adhere to that fact. 

IT-departments must improve and start to deliver proffesional serivec to the business. We can no longer just be happy amatuers that have a good will and intention. The competition of today requires far better services than so. 

 

The primary objective for an IT-department should be to deliver a high Service Level of the daily operations to the business. It needs to work seamless and without unplanned outages and a professional Incident mgt process. 

 

Secondary objective for the IT-department should be to deliver new initiatives ordered by the business on time, within budget and with correct quality. 

 

Third objective for an IT-department should be to pro-actively propose new solutions to the business to enable the business to grow and expand. 

 

 

The trend in the IT-industry is now to outsource parts or the complete IT-department. But what does the management hope to solve by outsourcing or off-shoring? In general, I do not think that a IT-department will increase the Service Level towards the business by out-sourcing the Operations or the complete IT-department for that sake. You could maybe source parts of the maintenance of systems to other companies but you should always keep the management and follow up of them by your self. To be able to deliver high class Service Level Fullfilment you NEED to UNDERSTAND the business. You are not able to do that if you are located 2000 miles away and not care about if a Service is down or not. 

 

As I’ve stated above the primary objective should be to secure a high Service Level to the business. You are only able to achieve this if you have correct processes implemented, such as Incident Mgt, Problem Mgt, Configuration Mgt, Serivce Level Mgt and Release Mgt. ITIL is a well known framework of processes to use. To achieve the first objective you also need to understand and know the business. I strongly doubt that resources in an external company are willing to give the extra efforts to keep the Service Level at the agreed level. 

The most critical systems for a company should be operated and maintained in house by resources that knows and understand the business! 

 

The secondary objective is to deliver new initiatives that is ordered by the business. This is where the projects come into the picture. The IT-industry must acknowledge that we no longer are happy amateurs that try out new technologies and always should do what is most interesting and fun. No, we should take lead in the questions 

of how to implement new business solutions and it should be the IT-professionals that know HOW it should be done in the best way. Unfortunately, are we quite often not good enough to take lead and point out the way. An IT-department should have a 100% success rate of their projects, all projects should be delivered on time, within budget, with correct scope and quality. Yes, there are often external dependencies that projects fail to achieve their objectives but more often it is due to bad planning and management of the projects that it fails. This is clearly not acceptable and the IT-industry/department must improve the ratio between successful and failed projects. 

 

According to the Standish Group CHAOS Chronicles 2003, the success rate for projects increased with 100% from 1994 to 2002. The success rate was although only 34% in 2002, which is alarmingly low. 

 

Third objective for the IT-department should be to proactively propose new solutions to the business to give the business new possibilities to grow and expand. To be able to accomplish this, you need to have resources that knows and understand the business to be propose new ideas. Speed to market are getting more and more important for companies due to the growing competition on the global market and an IT-department need to pro-actively define and change the enterprise architecture to meet the long-term goals of the company. IT should and must be able to propose and create new channels for business. 

 

The common factor for all three objectives is that the IT-department MUST know and understand the business. 

 //Johan Beijar

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