Eliminate your IT department?

Cloud-based services are transforming business IT in major ways.  What does this mean for the structure and mission of the enterprise’s IT department?  Is there anything left that can’t be done by the cloud and by cloud service vendors?

Yes!  There are three major areas in which every enterprise still needs a collection of people who focus on IT.  And it is best to have them gathered in a department where they are able to exchange information at high bandwidth – in other words, in an IT department.

1.    Expertise

While it can be advantageous to place IT specialists inside of business departments where they can advise their business counterparts on specifics of applications, data and cloud services, keeping up with the range of IT offerings is a job best done at a central location.

Building a center of expertise will enable IT specialists to respond to requests from business units for recommendations and advice on cloud vendors, facilities and functions of various IT packages, and general information on what solutions are now available.  In addition, the experts can create informative newsletters and workshops on what’s around the corner, the progress of corporate IT initiatives, and other current IT topics.

This type of dissemination of information cannot typically be done as well by department-captive IT specialists.

2.    Strategy

Your business has a business strategy.  Almost certainly, that strategy depends on certain IT initiatives.  Defining, aligning, and guiding those initiatives must be done by people who understand the business strategy and also understand IT deeply.  These people should be IT experts who also are involved in strategic planning for the business.

As a result, they are strategists for IT as well as for the business.  So they need to keep up with the latest trends and possibilities in IT as well as know a lot about all of the enterprise’s current IT implementations.  These people are natural members of a central IT department.

3.    Management

IT management involves several different perspectives.

First is managing the IT-business interface across all IT initiatives and across the functional components of the business.

Second is managing the IT department and its initiatives, including developing, training and promoting IT specialists.

Finally, there is management of vendors, including cloud service vendors – and increasingly crucial portion of the management workload.

All three of these aspects of IT require an IT department – or an equivalent – that concentrates IT expertise and IT-related missions into a place where communications are very frequent and easy.

Don’t eliminate IT, transform it

As cloud-based services begin to transform the way in which IT functions are accomplished, the IT department should concentrate on developing its expertise in the following areas:

Cross-connecting siloed business functions and helping to eliminate duplication in IT activities and services.

Teaching, training and informing business leaders about IT, including which cloud-based services can best help get their jobs done.

Monitoring, measuring and rewarding vendors who are supporting business functions in the enterprise.  This includes setting standards for performance, helping with contractual arrangements with vendors, and monitoring both positive performance and negative incidents surrounding IT vendors.

Creating IT strategic plans, including corroborating those plans with enterprise strategies and plans.  And finally, adapting the enterprise to the rapidly-shifting cloud services environment.

In other words, there’s plenty left to do in an IT department.  Don’t eliminate it.

John’s webinar titled The 10 Danger Signs of Failing IT Projects will be held on September 25 at 10:00 AM Pacific time.

Designing, implementing and integrating major IT systems has numerous pitfalls that don’t appear, for example, in building construction. If you’re responsible for delivering a major IT project – or if you are paying for one – you need to be aware of what indicators are red flags for possible failure of the project.

See more information and register at http://bit.ly/Tjlp5t

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John Levy Consulting

Deliver the promise of technology to business


http://johnlevyconsulting.com

PO Box 1419, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956    415 663-1818

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    About John Levy

    John Levy works with senior managers in mid-sized organizations who are responsible for development and delivery of major software or hardware/software products. He helps them gain confidence that their projects will succeed.

    Development projects can fail in many ways. You need a guide who speaks the language of business and is knowledgeable about technology. John aligns Development with the organization's strategy so it will contribute efficiently to the success of the enterprise.

    John has been consulting for over 20 years. His book on managing high-tech teams, Get Out of the Way, was published in 2010.

    For more information, email him at johnlevyconsulting.com, or call 415 663-1818.
    And check out John's profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter!