One of the key findings in a recent Datalink-commissioned IDG Research Services survey on IT investment and business outcomes is that in order to be successful, IT organizations must do a better job of linking investments to business outcomes. They must be more proactive and more focused on business objectives, and take the lead in helping the business leverage IT to meet them.
In other words, IT must become a catalyst for change within the organization and a strategic partner to the business. When asked how they would do that, more than 100 IT executives from large U.S. companies gave a wide range of responses. The steps mentioned most frequently include:
Streamline operational processes (56% of respondents). Help the business achieve its objectives more quickly and efficiently.
Increase standardization (38%). The benefits of standardization include everything from implementing processes to creating a services catalog.
Move away from legacy systems (37%). More and more, the time, effort, and capital consumed in keeping legacy systems operational is viewed as wasteful and not contributing to helping the business achieve its goals.
Change operational skills/roles (35%). As IT shifts its focus to delivering business outcomes, the skills and roles of IT staff must evolve as well.
Develop a cloud-like interface for IT services (27%). One of the best ways to help the business achieve outcomes is to help it be more efficient, and cloud-based or cloud-like interfaces greatly increase the speed and ease of service delivery.
Create/negotiate SLAs (20%). Reaching agreement on the service levels needed to support the business and then hitting those numbers is a great way to show that IT is helping the organization achieve its strategic objectives.
Outsource IT functions (20%). In many cases, paying to outsource IT functions is much less costly than defining and staffing a function internally. It’s also a much faster way to produce results.
Full results of the IDG survey can be viewed here.
When IT becomes a catalyst for change, both IT and the business win. IT gets increased recognition and a more prominent seat at the business strategy table. And the business benefits from the new ideas that an energized and proactive IT organization provides.