Perspectives on Industry Trends and Technologies

Jackie Kahle

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CIO: Blog Post

How the IT Team became the A-Team By @JackieKahle | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

New research highlights what the front runners are doing to build the best possible IT function to support business growth.

Gone are the days when IT was seen as unimportant or unchanging. IT is no longer only about supporting employees—it integral to businesses. CEOs have taken note of the fact that customers are more likely to interact with your brand through an app than a person, and companies are trying to reposition themselves in the new application economy. That allows IT departments to be more innovative and flex their creative muscles.

Application economy leaders and laggards

Now, IT is no longer a just a cost center, but a strategic weapon.  A recent survey of 1,425 IT and business leaders conducted by Vanson Bourne showed the long-standing trend towards outsourcing most of IT is reversing, with companies looking to increase in-house development and even acquire software start-ups to obtain critical expertise. This same survey defined a set of application economy “leaders” and “laggards” and examined what the leaders are doing differently in key areas such as DevOps, Mobility and just recently, IT Business Management, which is the source of the remainder of the data in this post.

Some of the most startling results showed just how much more effective IT is in the companies represented as application economy leaders versus laggards. And most of it boiled down to the three best practices summarized below.

IT business management done right

The IT departments in application economy leader organizations were six times more likely to be rated as, “very effective” than laggards across a spectrum of business management practices (see Figure 1).

It stands to reason that IT functions that can better manage business demand, prioritize new strategic objectives and evaluate the impact of investment shifts are going to be much more responsive to the business’s need for fast delivery of new apps and services. It all comes down to treating IT itself as a business, and managing it that way.

The customer is always right

For IT, the “customer” includes employees, line-of-business stakeholders, and ultimately the end customer of the business’ products or services. Making sure they are all happy and satisfied with their overall experience isn’t easy, but nothing is more important. Application economy leaders know this and are far more likely to have internal end users rate IT as “very effective” and LOB stakeholders to be “completely satisfied with IT (see Figures 2 and 3).

Practice what your preach

We’ve all heard of the cobbler’s children going without shoes. The same is often true with IT:  There are a wide array of off-the-shelf software solutions available to help IT manage its portfolio and plans its business, but many IT departments as not leveraging them anywhere near as much as they should.

Application economy leaders, however, are much likely to frequently use software tools to evaluate their performance, look at the impact of shifts in investment, share KPIs with the business and much more (see Figure 4).

While “following the leaders” may not always be the best path, in this case, the application economy leaders have provided a clear road map to having a highly-cool and effective IT function that will help your business thrive in the application economy.

Tell me what you think here or on Twitter @jackiekahle or LinkedIn. For the full survey results, download IT and the Business are Finally Aligned. So Why is No One Happy? or visit rewrite.ca.com.

More Stories By Jackie Kahle

Jackie is a 30-year veteran of the IT industry and has held senior management positions in marketing, business development, and strategic planning for major systems, software, and services companies including Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, and Gartner. She currently manages the strategy and execution of CA Technologies thought leadership programs. Jackie has an MBA from the Whittemore School, University of New Hampshire, a BA in Mathematics from New York University and is the Vice-Chair of the N.H. State Council on the Arts.