IT is NOT the Center of Anyone's Universe
I’ve read hundreds of articles on how IT is the innovator of business. I am repeatedly amazing and astonished at the pure arrogance and lack of business understanding, these IT leaders exhibit. The ONLY role of IT is as an enabler to the business. IT is NOT in the core value chain of the overwhelming majority of businesses. Yes, IT can be a key aspect of implementing innovation, but IT is a tool, a method, a means-to-an-end, not the core process itself. IT does own the process or the data - that is the business’s role. IT provides the car and the roads to transport that data.
So structurally, what does this look like?
The American Productivity and Quality Council (APQC) publishes a generic business model that encompasses virtually every business in existence (with subordinate processes unique to business segments). The core processes are as follows:
- Develop Vision and Strategy
- Develop and Manager Product and Services
- Market and Sell Products and Services
- Deliver Products and Services
- Manage Customer Service
This sequential series of processes comprise the generic model of any business.
Information Technology is NOT one of those core operating processes.
Across all these core operationg processes, there are a number of supporting operating functions.
- HR - Develop and Manage Human Capital
- IT - Manage Information Technology
- Finance - Manage Financial Resources
And a few other spanning processes.
Of the key supporting operating functions that span all other other core operating processes, IT holds a unique, potential contribution:
- The key “tool set” that almost everyone in today’s business uses
- Done right, a source of real efficiency and productivity improvements
- Where the velocity of change is greatest
- Where the most money is being spent on a recurring basis
- Where the greatest expectation of a ROI exists
…….. and where the greatest number of failed efforts exist - as much as 76% of all IT projects fail, either with outright functionality issue, or budget / schedule overruns.
So for IT leaders - get over yourselves! Shelve that ego and start to understand that your role is NOT a core function of the business…... but IS a core ENABLER, and likely the most important one that exists in any modern company. If you are not treating IT as that business tool, but instead, as technology-for-technology’s sake, you are not doing the business any service of true value and are likely doing more harm than good to the company’s future.
How can you do that? That is the subject of another post :-)