The Journey Towards IT Enlightenment Starts with a Single Step

Last month, we provided insight into some of our predictions for 2011. In short, we believe that 2011 will kick off not only a year, but a decade of transformational change for the CIO. At the top of our predictions list, we believe CIOs will be focused on the business side of running their IT portfolios which will require deeper analysis and new metrics to drive the accountability of IT.

A recent report by Gartner* found that “better visibility into IT costs and value is essential to improve IT efficiency and balance IT resources with business demand” and that “long-term goals of IT cost reduction will not be achieved without a sharper focus on IT financial management.”

As we look around the industry, we see several third parties beginning to validate these predications and provide recommendations that will help CIOs set their priorities for the coming year.

But the question remains - how do we move away from the proverbial “black box” of IT towards a fully transparent organization? Despite their desire to evolve and become more transparent, the same Gartner report found that:

“Just 11% of Gartner clients rank themselves at an infrastructure and operations (I&O) maturity level of 3 (proactive) or 4 (service-aligned). None rank themselves a 5 (business partnership).”

Based on our experience of working with Fortune 1000 customers, we know this is partially attributed to the challenge of getting started. After all, an IT transformation initiative sounds a bit daunting. But the good news is that IT leaders don’t have to dive in headfirst. Transformation can start with a small piece of the puzzle (i.e. Bill of IT) and spread across other areas of the IT organization over time. Implementing a full Technology Business Management (TBM) evolution is the end goal, and there are ways to get started down that path now to quickly work towards creating a true partnership between IT and the business.

CIOs are quickly learning that their colleagues in the boardroom will no longer accept that IT is doing its job without substantiating metrics. With the advent of TBM and automated processes for communicating the cost and value of IT Services, CIOs are now in a strong position to provide true transparency into IT and deliver timely information that will help the business make fact-based decisions.

While talk about IT-Business alignment is all good and well, 2011 is the year for action. TBM is a journey - start small to win big.

*Gartner, Inc., Kurt Potter, Michael Smith, Donna Scott, November 10, 2010, “Predicts 2011: IT Financial and Performance Management Gets Strategic”