Some time back I listened in on a Softtek webinar featuring Alexander Peters, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, who discussed the changing role of the IT department within companies. He said that because of the huge progress of technology in recent years, we’re moving away from a world where the IT department tells the management side what is and is not possible to do. Instead today, the technology required to truly optimize a sourcing model is available, which means that now the management side has the choice of what applications to use. Three game-changers in IT that he brings up:
The development of these new technologies, Peters says, is a huge opportunity for the IT department to play a much more strategic role within the company. He describes a firm’s transition from a basic IT service provider to a ‘mature’ and integrated organization, as one in which the IT department gets closer and closer to top management. This process should be driven by the CIO, who should act as the link between IT and the firm’s executive team. Peters calls this “increasing the business orientation of the IT department”.
To enable more responsiveness to the firm’s corporate goals and strategy, he recommends establishing four Centers of Excellence or COEs – ERP, CRM, Product and R&D. He then suggests creating four more positions – Product creation, Order to delivery, Customer and service, and Business and support – to run those COEs. If this all sounds like a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy, think again. Some of the most successful IT players have variations of this model in place.
It’s all about using technology not just to cut costs and increase output, but to drive corporate strategy in a way that radically transforms your business. That’s the core of making better decisions through IT.