IT In Business

IT in Business, what is a business consultant, business consulting company, due diligent, due dilligence, what is business consulting, business plan servicesIT In Business

is the use of information technology as a business tool.  Used properly it can be a competitive advantage in today’s business environment.

The old days of CIOs building their empires are gone. IT is and should be treated as a Service Bureau whether it is sourced internally or externally.  All companies must focus on thier core business, be that Aerospace, Call Centers, Energy, Entertainment, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Services, Venture, Transportation etc.

IT infrastructure support
For the past several years there has been a convergence of voice and data and more recently video.  Google purchased YouTube because more and more people are watching video versus reading emails, and more and more people are doing internet searches using media such as YouTube vs the more conventional search engines.

With the convergence of voice, data and video come new complexities in network security and compliance .  The next generation of IT and CIOs must not only support the corporate mission, but I.T.  must become a profit center in order to generate the needed revenues to support their own budget needs as a minimum.

Driven by the diverse needs of individual departments, subsidiaries and acquisitions the monolithic I.T. Department may be a thing of the past.  Middle-ware will become the connector of disparate technologies where only the most critical data will be shared across platforms and departments.

CIOs and IT managers that do not have a vision of a decentralized I.T. structure are boat anchors to their companies.  Embracing the “Cloud” and “Vertrialization” is just he beginning.  IT must support self-service in the future and Business Ready will require merging cutting edge technologies with future business needs as a competitive advantage unlike the reactionary role IT plays today.

In a complex  IT environment the prudent posture is to be conservative when making changes so as not to disrupt the core business.  But at what expense?   When large IT departments are years behind those of Guerrilla IT departments in smaller companies one must ask is IT driving the business or supporting the business.  An example is Charles Schwab recently purchased Option Express.  Schwab I.T. is old style, consolidated , conservative to ensure 110% compliance reporting, where as I would characterize Options Express as, fast paced, distributed, client focused that can still meet 100% of compliance reporting.

Schwab of course is trying to force Options Express IT to be like them and integrate in to the fold.  When in my opinion Schwab should allow Option to stay on course and only pass the information the mother ships “absolutely requires” (not wants, not could use, but absolutely requires).

The IT culture of “support” versus “creating value” will take:

  1. An understanding by the business and their “business technology” partners of what brings value to the organization as a whole.
  2. Value Management Best Practices to include life cycle business cases, enlightened program management, and new change management guide lines.
  3. Newly defined roles and responsibilities that spread traditional the IT accountability through the organization and is aligned with the compensation plan in a meaningful way.
  4. New metrics that use both historical reporting and leading indicators of competitive IT value.

The next logical step in the evolution of the IT shop is Converged Infrastructure.  Companies like VCE are leading the industry in creating an infrastructure product that can plug and play in the Enterprise in days versus the integration of dis-parent solutions that take months to integrate and test before live production can be run.

I have spent over 30 years working in high tech companies designing, building, running, and maintaining IT systems for fortune 500 companies while working for Cray Research and Sun Microsystems Inc.  I have worked with agile IT departments and I have worked with IT departments that are overly cautious to the detriment of the business. Both need to change.

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