Posted by Mike Rollings
How does your organization define the value of IT? Many IT organizations have defined their value based on the ability to deal with complexity. Many times we pride ourselves on how much complexity we deal with. We may even say "you don't need to know, it is way too complex for you to understand." Instead of complexity, the value of IT comes from being transparent about your business contribution. It does not come from being able to deal with complexity.
Today I read "Salesforce unfazed by Oracle competition in cloud computing" by Rob Barry. In the article Cheryl O'Connor, the worldwide CRM strategy manager at signal processing company Analog Devices Inc., said she deployed Salesforce.com on her project's budget without involving IT in the mix. Still, she concedes that as time goes on and Analog Devices' use of Salesforce grows increasingly complex, IT has become more involved.
The great part of this quote is that Salesforce.com gave her the ability to do more herself without engaging technologists. I don't know if IT at Analog Devices was involved in the initial choice of Salesforce or other steps along the way. But the sad part is the impression that IT did not have involvement with the business until the business was forced too because complexity reared its ugly head.
As we race toward cloud computing our ability to broker solutions with respect to a business outcome becomes a primary value contribution. Much of the complexity that we pride ourselves on will be someone elses problem. Internal IT will be competing with new environments that appear much simpler. If your organization defines value based on dealing with complexity, the business will perceive that it does not need IT in this much simpler world.
It won't matter that the post-modern IT world is much more complex than the old. What will matter is that it is perceived simpler. And if your value comes solely from dealing with complex things, then the business will not perceive the need for IT.
There are many other valueable reasons to engage IT. Make your value contribution to business outcomes known!
For more information about value management and how to use metrics to demonstrate the value of IT, register for our July Catalyst Conference and attend the metrics track. I will be deliverying the keynote - "The Essentials of IT Value Management."