Should IT be run as a business?

I read an Article in CIO Magazine “Run IT as a business — why that’s a train wreck waiting to happen – Everything you’ve been told is wrong: What IT should do instead” by Bob Lewis. As I read the article I imagined the cheering from the IT professionals in data centers across the country. Their frustration with unrealistic users and business leaders is finally articulated.

Clearly Mr. Lewis makes some great points in his article and it is an interesting article to read. However, many of his points are the very reason businesses fail as well. What he is getting to is the importance of creating solutions that will solve the long term business needs as opposed to running around resolving point solutions and every user demand. The essence of where he is going is that internal IT professionals must operate more like consultants and not just turning wrenches. The key here is having solid IT strategic plan and trained IT team to work like consultants. The strategic plan should be short enough that the key leaders will read and buy into the plan. The IT Team needs the consulting skills to work with the business managers and users to deliver on the plan.

IT departments that do not treat the users and business manager as customers are on a slippery slope. A major challenge for IT leaders is getting their team to communicate and to not give attitude to the users. Good IT professionals are scarce and in high demand. They are constantly being pulled in multiple directions and this causes them frustration when dealing with less technical staff. This amplifies the challenge to develop IT professionals that are effective as consultants.

Oh, in case you are wondering – I say yes, IT should be run like a business. And why not – last I checked it is part of business and frankly you should treat everyone like a customer internally and externally. It is a mantra for me!

CIO Magazine Article by Bob Lewis:

Nortec Communications - Washington D.C