Why IT shouldn’t be run as a business…

Need an out-of-the-box opinion on running it? Check “Infoworld’s Run IT as a business — why that’s a train wreck waiting to happen”…

Intro

“If you board the wrong train, it’s no use running along the corridor in the other direction,” said famed World War II German resistance fighter Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We in IT boarded the wrong train a long time ago. It’s the “standard model” of information technology organizations — the familiar litany that says CIOs should run IT as a business [1], meeting the requirements of its internal customers. This refrain has been endorsed by our holy trinity, too: analyst firms, most consultancies, and ITIL.

Some strong quotes

  • There are no IT projects : He likens IT’s proper role to that of an engineer designing a car. “It doesn’t matter if the ‘customer’ asks for the horn on the backseat. Placing it there would meet the specs and ‘satisfy requirements.’ It would also defeat the usability of the horn, render driving the car dangerous, and could lead to a crash that ruins the whole effort.
  • Chargebacks? No! Governance… : Chargebacks are an attempt to use market forces to regulate the supply and demand for IT services. If that’s the best a business can do, it means the business has no strategy, no plans, and no intentional way to turn ideas into action.
  • So what should we do? : Nobody in IT should ever say, “You’re my customer and my job is to make sure you’re satisfied,” or ask, “What do you want me to do?” Instead, they should say, “My job is to help you and the company succeed,” followed by “Show me how you do things now,” and “Let’s figure out a better way of getting this done.”
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