From banking to airlines, through communications businesses to pharmaceutical companies, the IT landscape is littered with failures of Homeric proportions, lost opportunities and profligate waste. Across the spectrum of commercial business the IT bottom line is inevtiably familiar: in general, businesses expose themselves to unnecessary levels of disruption, and spend far too much time and money on IT projects, IT products and internal IT services that frankly suck.
Too many internal corporate IT organizations are consistently failing to deliver projects on time, or to budget or to deliver what the business sponsors have asked for. IT continually fails on deliver any tangible business benefits apart from maintaining the businesses dependency on computing.
IT will block, mismanage, exaggerate project complexity or otherwise run business projects off the rails frequently because the business requirements endanger the hidden agendas of senior managers or middle-managers in IT organisations. Relationships between internal IT staff and external vendors can reach levels whereby the IT managers may actually be appear to be more responsive to the concerns of the suppliers than the needs of their own business users. Whatever the motivation is, the outcome is that IT either invests miserably or not at all on IT projects that can provide business value.
The negative impact of a badly chosen, badly executed and badly delivered IT project has far reaching ramifications, both for the business and for the fate of future IT projects. Most of the problems regarding IT failure can be found in the IT organizations themselves. All too frequently business IT projects that only require a modest budget are shunned in favor of big-ticket failures. IT organizations do not like simple, quick and effective, they do not see any justification in small and effective projects. Many organisations feed their ‘overfatted’ infrastructures on unnecessary complexity, rampant bureaucracy and plain obtuseness.
IT has been left alone for far too long, usually stuck between a rock and a hard place, IT has become an activity in itself, it’s sole task is its own survival, and its benefits to the business are typically negligible if not downright negative. In social terms, IT has become the rich-persons idiot child.
It’s not as if IT has run out of steam, the potential for IT in business is vast and probably open-ended. There are many areas of business that can benefit from innovative IT based applications, sometimes requiring large project development, but some of the most significant IT projects are usually smaller.
A CEO should know all of this and much more. IT in business must face a radical overhaul, it cannot be allowed to die, but neither can it be allowed to live as a purely self-serving organism. This is where the CEO must dictate how, why, when and where IT functions. A CEO must have the courage to change and to change IT, in order to ensure that IT works for the business.
Many thanks for reading.
File under: Good Strat, Good Strategy, Martyn Richard Jones, Martyn Jones, Cambriano Energy, Iniciativa Consulting, Iniciativa para Data Warehouse, Tiki Taka Pro