“IT as a Business Enabler” is a concept that has been around for more than a decade now. We all know that the mantra for getting the most out of your IT is to not treat IT as a cost centre but more as a business enabler. But have we actually been able to achieve this?
Senior Executives have attended seminars and workshops, Managers and Architects have been sent to best practice courses, framework and process documents have been put together, ITSM tools have been upgraded; service desk offerings have been polished up, latest cloud friendly technologies deployed and some of us have even been to the cloud!
How do we genuinely realise the true value of IT? Do our users and customers experience the value of our technology in their day-to-day interactions with IT?
What facts do we have to support our conversations when we advocate the value of IT as a business enabler?
Step 1 — Test your alignment to strategy
The real power of IT is derived from having a deep understanding of the business (not IT) strategy and then designing an IT Strategy and framework that aligns with the business value drivers.
Step 2 — Understand the value you are chasing
The second step to creating IT as a business enabler is to put a cost value to IT — not through the traditional “headcount” or “cost centre” method, but through developing an understanding of the business functions supported by IT and their relationship to the traditional technical functions, and the production of value to the strategic objectives. You should have a value to chase just like a budget target.
Step 3 — Test where the value decisions are made
If you haven’t been through this discovery yet, it is too early to decide whether you should go for a Private or Public Cloud; or whether this is the right time to virtualise your desktop fleet and or if you should outsource your application support.
Discovery and understanding of your own processes helps you design a better Service Catalogue and gives your customers the power of choice — they can decide what is it that they want, how much of it they want, how long before its delivered and what is it going to cost them to get what they want. This is usually driven by business value. If you have your house in order and the selection of services is arrived at with the customer leading the choice then you are enabling business performance.
Though, be warned, this doesn’t turn your IT into a business enabler overnight, but sets you on the right path.
The journey, and it is a journey, to this level of IT Service Transformation and maturity isn’t an overly complex process, but it can be made to be. Keep it simple, create velocity and do it with people.
The process and its success is no different to any other fundamental business process transformation — a transformation that starts with a dialogue and ends with a sustainability plan.