Technologies in business for these modern times has never been more important. With the consumerism of I.T products and services it has brought disruptions across the technology stack and the emergence of new technology-based business processes have put tremendous pressure to corporate I.T departments greater than ever.
As technology continues to permeate life and business, and companies are emphasizing I.T in their short and long-term strategic investments to build and broaden their competitive advantage it’s important for organizations to optimize their I.T investments. The following are 3 ways for this optimization.
#1. Business strategy and I.T investment must be aligned
When it comes to I.T investments the responsibility falls to the organizations Chief Information Officer (CIO) but often times without the alignment and understanding to other senior management involvement. In turn this lopsided arrangement many times results in suboptimal investment. As such organizations making I.T investment decisions must instead arrive at a joint business-I.T partnership that would ensure technology investment decisions for example technologies selected and projects deployed are consistently and tightly linked with business priorities strategically. This would then ensure a more balanced trade-off and implications of any purchase are clear. Further this would ensure the I.T part that makes the decision for the organization understands the organization long-term objectives.
#2. I.T investment must be measured and communicated
The true value of I.T investment is often measured through I.T operations or end user satisfaction. This does not represent the true value attached to I.T investment and the related team members struggle to transparently communicate this value. The common perception is that IT costs too high, deliverables are slow and does not offer long term differentiating value. Organizations I.T management can address this by using metrics that help explain I.T’s value to other top management, rather than just confuse them by not being transparent. The best I.T organizations link their performance to business goals. For example this might increase in client acquisition, incremental revenue growth, end-user satisfaction or retention rates. I.T personnel will need to expend some initial energy to align metrics and build reporting capabilities. Once in place, these measures can clarify value and improve I.T’s reputation within the organization. The most important first step is to link business strategy and objectives with I.T strategy and goals.
#3. Uncover the total value of I.T investment
The biggest issue detected from executives regarding their investments is that it’s not driving innovation, not generating revenue growth or not developing the capabilities needed to position the organization for longer-term competitive advantage. Too often, I.T departments fails to capitalize on its strong position to help optimize how investments are allocated and cannot industrialize its infrastructure to lower costs and enhance the customer experience. Because it touches all functions and every lines of business, it ought to have a holistic, enterprise-wide read that puts it in position to maximise its worth. Traditional approaches fall short in three key areas. First is by taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach to decision making, which hinders the ability to get a comprehensive analysis. Second is by giving into innate aversion to risk; when it comes to picking investments, managers usually fear loss more than they value whatever gains may be possible. Lastly, despite the various governance committees most organizations have, typically there is a lack of fundamentals needed to govern investments and monitor whether they remain aligned to business objectives