Monday, April 1, 2013

How IT Can Stay Relevant

Interesting discussion today about IT relevance in the modern cloud era:

As pointed out in the comments section, this is definitely a topic that’s been discussed at length.

I would argue that the discussion goes back much farther than most realize. My first job in IT was part of a “shadow” IT organization. Our job was to help the business deploy technology that was readily available on the open market but that IT was not willing to provide for us.

Except that this was in 1989 and the technology was Macintosh computers.

As I wrote in my book "Why We Fail" this is part of a larger struggle between IT as a source of control for the organization and IT as a service provider. You cannot do both well.  In many cases, IT organizations feel it is their responsibility to control technology to protect the organization from it's internal users.  While this is a valid concern, it does not promote a culture of service that is required for IT to remain relevant.

I strongly believe that IT must transform into a customer centric model to help drive businesses forward.   Consider the chart below:

Traditional IT
Customer Centric IT
Sets IT Standards
Supports Business Requirements
Focus on Operations Excellence
Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Engineering is key skill set
Consulting is key skill set
Sets Policy
Seeks Input
Focus on Large Projects
Focus on Smaller Projects
Organized by Technology
Organized by Customer
Technology Focus
Business Value Focus
Delivers most projects in house
Brokers external vendors as needed

Customer centric IT organizations do not seek to set or enforce policy.  Rather, they seek input and they are organized around the customer.  It is the focus on the customer's needs that ensures that a customer focused IT organization will remain relevant in a modern cloud era.

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