IT Value: How To Measure The Revenue Of IT

by drjim on June 10, 2009

IT Departments Produce Revenue, But You Have To Be Careful How You Measure It

IT Departments Produce Revenue, But You Have To Be Careful How You Measure It

What would you say is the biggest challenge that CIOs are facing today? There are a lot of possibilities to choose from, but if I had to put my money on just one issue, I’d choose the fact that all that today’s CIOs seem to get a chance to talk about is costs.

What’s missing here is a way for CIOs to communicate in a company-wide manner just how much value the investments that the company is making in IT are returning – the revenue of IT if you will. HP’s CIO Randy Mott has been facing this problem and he’s come up with a solution to it.

Chris Murphy over at InformationWeek had a chance to sit down with Randy and ask some questions about how he’s gone about communicating the value of IT in his company.

At HP, the IT teams attempt to put a measurable value on the work that they do. In short, it’s the sum of the tangible (hard dollar) and intangible benefits that each IT project delivers in the 12 months just after full implementation is complete.

Randy believes that IT has always produced a revenue; however, we’ve been doing a poor job of capturing the value of what we do. The correct way is to report on the value of an IT project  in such a way that it can be presented to the CFO / CEO / executive committee and have the numbers stand up.

How did HP pull this off? Simple – pre-planning. Before any project starts at HP, a complete cost-benefit analysis is performed and agreed to by both business unit leaders and finance. This means that the numbers are finance numbers – not IT numbers – and so they have credibility with the rest of the business.

So there you go – it is possible to measure the “revenue of IT”. It just takes commitment from both inside and outside of the IT department.

Questions For You

Is your IT department just a cost center? Does your IT department try to measure the revenue that they enable? Are the numbers that they report accepted by the rest of the company? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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Coming Up Next Time

The world at large believes that CIOs lack the business skills that are needed in order to have a seat at a company’s strategy steering table. If CIOs are to take the reins of the IT department and turn it into the engine that allows the rest of the company to move faster, then there are 5 things that they need to STOP doing…

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