Digital transformation has elevated IT departments to being central to business success, which means they need to be run differently
The ‘digital transformation’ wave has affected many areas of business (virtually all, in fact) but one of the most important things it has done is elevate the position of the IT department.
What was once seen as a cost centre and a back office function has rapidly grown in prominence to become the key driver for change within all forward-thinking organisations, transforming the way people and businesses operate.
IT leaders now hold boardroom positions. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) – or whatever name given to them – are amongst the most important people in any organisation and play a key role in both strategy and operations.
But, this has brought with it complications, as businesses now need to change the way their IT departments are run to align with this increase in prominence. That’s where Technology Business Management (TBM) comes in.
Speaking to Silicon, Chris Pick – CMO at Apptio and president of the TBM Council – explained the theory behind TBM and how it can help businesses transform their IT operations.
“We bring the discipline of running IT like a business to chief information officers,” he explained. “The notions of costing, pricing, billing of IT services, how to adopt the cloud, the economic principles around your vendor supply chain.
“We believe that no organisation should run their IT organisation off of a spreadsheet and that’s typically what you see. They work with their own internal finance team that’ll have their general ledger and that is great for running the overall business but has no context to the IT organisation. Every organisation is basically using manual efforts and spreadsheets to run their IT business.”
What TBM essentially does is shine a light on operations, providing transparency into how the IT department is being run for aspects such as the resources used for projects and the end-user applications being supported.
Everything is brought together in one place, with automation and data analytics enabling both IT leaders and business leaders to optimise their spending decisions and maximise the value that IT brings to the organisation.
“That elevates IT from being a cost centre where IT is typically not seen as keeping pace with the business, to really changing IT to be a strategic enabler”, Pick said, adding that it “elevates the CIO to being a business leader that is impactful to the organisation”.
Ultimately it’s all about re-framing the value proposition of IT through a combination of transparency, cost reductions and optimisations, the savings of which can then be fed back into future digitisation initiatives.
This means more time and focus can spent on using IT to change the business, rather than using IT to just keep the lights on, a balance that business in all industries would like to achieve.