Determining value requires answers to the following questions:
- What services were delivered?
- What was the cost of the services?
- Why were the services delivered?
- Who requested the services?
- Why were the services necessary?
- Did the delivery of these services disrupt the delivery of other higher value services?
IT professionals work hard and they assume their efforts deliver value to the business. The reality is that many IT services do not deliver value. In some cases they represent waste. For example: Manually correcting data and re-starting a failed application because it was built with insufficient data validation is NOT a value added service. While it is necessary to re-start the application, a properly designed application would have detected the invalid data and allowed the user to fix it without causing the application to fail.
Most application support activities are a form of waste. A “well designed” application should require very little support from IT. The problem is that a “well designed” application costs more money to design and build. Ultimately, we make trade-offs during the design and development phases that result in increased maintenance costs and decreased reliability and negatively impact the business perception of IT value.
If we are going to increase the business perception of value, we have to track the services that are provided, determine the reason why they are necessary, and consider changes that would eliminate the need for these services.