Lean IT

Delivering Business Value

IT and corporate management processes have not evolved to address the changing potential of IT. Thirty years ago, a budget was established to buy very expensive hardware. Business departments would battle for their small share of the available capacity. IT had very few choices regarding development languages and their design decisions were constrained by the processing capacity limitations.

The infrastructure processing capacity has grown exponentially while the cost has decreased exponentially. Additionally, there has been an explosion of software development tools. IT has too many software choices and few infrastructure constraints. IT has become obsessed by technical variety. Unfortunately, people and knowledge constraints limit the ability to leverage technology.

When you read trade magazines, they discuss Server consolidation, virtualization, cloud computing, development languages, databases, etc. but there is no discussion of the needs of the business. In all fairness, the business doesn’t know what they need but IT executive management should help them define their IT needs.   The business gets frustrated about spending money on technical toys that don’t provide value to the business. IT’s response is off-shore outsourcing to reduce the labor cost. Unfortunately, they are not solving the value problem.

What is the solution? Focus on the business. The mission of an IT organization is to “provide the information processing capability required by the business at a cost that represents value”. Technology should be a means to an end and IT departments should help the business articulate and prioritize their Information Processing needs and then prioritize the applications that deliver the capabilities. Instead, we are running 25 year old applications on brand new state-of-the art infrastructure.

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