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Thursday, 4 June 2015

IT - Get busy living or get busy dying

“Well I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Information Technology (IT)” is slowly becoming the hidden truth within the business organizations where IT is not a core business.  Once seen as a partner and innovator for the business is slowly getting reduced to keeper of software and hardware.  IT conferences and CIO summit’s are now focussed on redefining the IT landscape and role of the CIO in the current environment.  We have to revisit the ways of working and adapt to the real needs of the business.  A brief look at what has caused this transformation.

Cost Center : IT department is one of the cost center’s of the organization.  As with every cost center, the organization is focussed on keep the spend in check.  Budgets usually run very thin and when the going gets tough IT budgets are the first ones to get slashed.  Usual targets of IT organization from the CEO is to cut next year IT spend by 10% - 20%

Organization construct :  IT Manager / CIO usually reports in to the CFO (Chief Financial Officer).  Go figure.  CIO’s seldom get a seat at the table of the Level 1 leadership of the organization.    This cripples the head of the IT organization to have a clear view on the company goals and how he/she can help reshape IT to support the same

Traditional IT approach :  The current environment is fast paced and agile.  Everyday there are new things out in the market from Big Data, Cloud, Mobility, Internet of things, predictive and prescriptive analytics, Machine learning ….. Unfortunately, the incumbent IT organizations are laggers - look for detailed requirements to be captured, a long drawn project - usually waterfall, multiple processes with checks and balances.  When Cloud is promising to stand up your environment in 2 weeks, the project to implement Cloud takes more than a year.  

IT Consumerization :  With SaaS and PaaS models, Apple store / market place models, the business can do what they need to do without IT.  To complicate further, with PaaS models, there is heavy rise in Shadow IT.  (Check out Gartner’s article on BiModal IT to supplement Shadow IT).  Honestly, today’s software vendors selling point is, “You do NOT need your IT to run our software”.  This shift has transformed IT to a Asset Repository (or License Manager)

IT’s Way of working :  Typical IT organizations outsource 80-90% of their activities predominantly to keep the cost in check.  The key here is how the model is designed.  In an attempt to oversimplify, IT bundles the similar technologies or platform together.  From a business perspective, for a support of single application, they are looking at multiple support teams with limited to no understanding of the business context or problem.  Ever heard this quote from Taken.  “I don't know who you are, where you are, but I will find you and …..”  That is exactly how they will feel. (I will follow up with an article explaining this very subject)

Expensive / Takes too long :  This reminds me of Dr Evil and his famous Quote - “One Million Dollars”.  With the IT toolkits and the support model, any change would essentially mean a redesign, rearchitecture leading to expensive and long projects.  The sad part of this is the end product either misses the mark or little too late 


IT needs to go through a complete overhaul right from the way the organization is structured - Leadership, Projects, Support, Architecture to take advantages and keep up with the fast paced changes.  Hadoop and the Big data came in to existence in 2005.  A decade later there are only handful of organizations using it in upstream.  I had to end this with a closing remark from my favorite movie - “Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying”

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