IT And Business: Where Is All That IT Money Going?

by drjim on December 12, 2012

In the end, it takes both the business and IT to be successful…

In the end, it takes both the business and IT to be successful…
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In every business, there are internal conflicts. One conflict that almost every company seems to have is the failure of the business side of the house to see eye-to-eye with the IT department. This has been going on for so long that it’s almost a part of the definition of information technology. As CIO, it’s going to be your responsibility to fix this problem. Got any suggestions?

Why Is IT So Expensive?

It costs money to run an IT department. I believe that everyone in the company both realizes and understands this. However, how much money the IT department should require is another question.

All too often the rest of the company views the IT department as being a gigantic black hole when it comes to funding. More and more money gets poured into IT every year and yet at the same time the rest of the firm probably feels that they are getting less and less value for that money.

Where this story really starts to get interesting is when you take a look at it from the viewpoint of the CIO. The more funding that the IT department gets, the more that the IT staff is able to do – purchase more software, hardware, and provide more support. We truly do believe that we are providing valuable services to the rest of the company based on the level of funding that we are receiving.

How To Get The Business To Understand IT

So where’s the disconnect coming from? I believe that it simply comes down to the fact that you’ve got two parties looking at the question of what value the IT department is providing to the rest of the company from two different vantage points. What needs to be done is to create a common language to discuss this topic.

The business side of the house will never create this communication tool. Instead it falls on the shoulders of the IT department to come up with a way to allow both sides to have an effective discussion.

As the CIO, you are going to have to prepare both yourself and your department for what will happen. You are going to discover that it turns out that you are probably not doing as good of a job of providing services and support as you thought that you were. Likewise, the rest of the company is going to discover that you are actually doing a much better job of supporting them than they were aware of.

In order to make communication happen between the two parties, you are going to have to create a system that will allow everyone to understand exactly what the IT costs and associated performance is. This means that your IT staff is going to have to take the time to document what downtime and problem resolution times are as well as publicizing what project and budget performances are.

As these numbers start to form the basis for measuring and monitoring the performance of the IT department, both sides will increase their awareness of just exactly what value is being delivered for the money that goes into IT. No, this won’t solve all of the communication problems that the IT department has. However, it should go a long way in helping to start the right types of discussions.

What All Of This Means For You

In many companies, the IT department can appear to be an object of mystery. A lot of money gets spent on it and yet the value that it delivers may not be clear to the rest of the company. No matter what part of the IT sector you work in, as the CIO, it’s going to be your job to fix this problem.

One way to go about solving this problem is to make sure that the rest of the company has a better understanding of just what all of that IT funding is providing them with. You can do this by documenting services provided such as problem resolution times and project performance.

The one thing that both parties can agree on is the importance of information technology. By doing what a CIO needs to do – improving internal communication, you can make sure that the rest of the company has a higher level of satisfaction with the products and services that your department is providing them with.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Once you have the IT department performance numbers, what is the best way to share them with the rest of the business?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In every business, there are internal conflicts. One conflict that almost every company seems to have is the failure of the business side of the house to see eye-to-eye with the IT department. This has been going on for so long that it’s almost a part of the definition of information technology. As CIO, it’s going to be your responsibility to fix this problem. Got any suggestions?

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