Maintaining IT Relevance

I think it is important for IT leaders to ask themselves “Is my department relevant? Am I?” If the answer to either of those questions isn’t yes then it is time to retool and reengineer the circumstances to get the right answer. Achieving or maintaining relevancy is not simply a process of continuing education or completing projects within specifications. I find relevancy is achieved through both a tight integration of IT into the strategic vision of the organization and the personal ability of the IT leader to influence those around them to engage in making that vision real.

True, charisma alone cannot drive IT to be relevant, just as simply tagging IT onto corporate goals does not guarantee that IT is anything more than a valet for the corporate clown car. What these two elements do in concert is to put an exclamation point to the notion that IT can be operational partner and not simply a support structure in a modern enterprise.

As I have evolved my understanding of the way IT services impact and facilitate business processes, it became apparent every operational system in a modern enterprise has an Information System which keeps it moving. For that reason I have found it essential to define and engage stakeholders with IT, to write a story involving both parties one where ownership and accountability are clearly defined. As part of this understanding, I have abandoned the concept of servers and embrace the notion of services. Once we firmly define our services as an object, we are able to assess its priority, evaluate it independently for possible outsourcing, insourcing, or co-sourcing, and see how many resources are tied to its operation.

As an enterprise IT system and IT leader mature together, a critical milestone is reached once it becomes clear that every service has a lifecycle. If the full lifecycle it is not taken into consideration, the operational cost of maintenance, growth, and upgrades can stalemate technology growth and expansion. I realized that just because you can implement system after system does not mean you should. The necessity of IT Governance is a lesson too often learned this way. It is critical to relevance to strike a balance between agility and governance. We need to find ways to enhance the productivity of business units while maintaining our ability to support the portfolio of services as we grow. Engagement and evangelization of this new strategic IT relationship should occur from the top down and not only from the middle up. IT is most relevant when it is weaved into the very core of the organizational strategy, and ultimately the relevance of IT Leader who provides the thread we be tied in as well.

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~ by lavazzza on September 11, 2013.

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