Our friends over at CIO Insight are running a piece on the benefits of promoting, or rather marketing, IT to the business. It's a smart idea, and the benefits make sense, but how real are they in practice?
The benefits come from author Dan Roberts, who co-wrote Leading IT Transformation: The Roadmap for Success. These benefits of marketing IT to the business reflect the idea that you have to do more than a good job and more than cover your backside politically. You have to do it all and prove value in terms of business results. But what does it mean for IT when the business itself isn't working? Market yourself more than ever before.
Here are a few of the benefits from the piece:
- Linking IT to the overall strategic initiatives of the company.
- Bridging the gap when IT is remote or not co-located with the business.
- Managing demand and overload, and reducing unwanted, low-value work.
- Providing IT leaders with the competence, confidence, commitment and consistency needed to compete with external service providers, their services and cost-cutting abilities.
The first two are no-brainers. If you're not in sync with strategy, expect major cuts to the IT budget, and if you're off in some splinter office and not in central locations with management, then your management has to know they better be showing up at headquarters often (and are probably being asked to be there regularly anyway by the senior team).
The last two benefits seem to be competing with each other, and they highlight the things most executives and senior IT managers do on a regular basis--manage the risks, follies and costs of IT against the budget they've been given. Most large enterprises use a mix of diversified internal and external services to manage all the complex systems that support and sometimes drive revenue for the company.
But reducing unwanted, low-value work seems to me rarely something the folks in IT can do when budgets have shrunk and many folks I know in IT are being bled dry for their expertise with lack of enough supporting cast. This is not to say that your managers shouldn't ask for more help, but more often than not right now, they're not getting the dollars for it.