Running IT like a Business

By itSMF USA member, Angelica King.

Does your IT organization sit at the table with the organizational leadership? Is IT recognized as a capable business partner? Is it clear how IT is adding value to the organization? Running IT like a Business is a case study of how Accenture became a high performing organization through an organization transformation with a focus on running IT like a business.

Kress begins with IT strategy and governance. He explains when developing an IT strategy it is critical to understand the customers’ needs and the alternatives to meet those needs. This shows alignment to the business. Additionally, the business users have a role in IT governance. IT governance is the combination of aligning the IT strategy to the business strategy, identifying the right people to make decisions and aligning IT spending with business priorities. Finally, improvement occurs when the IT organization is held accountable to achieving results.

The next concepts outlined are managing the services provided to the business and tracking IT performance. Managed services are those products and services that IT provides to the business. IT needs to consider how to define the services so that it is easy for the business to work with IT. This can be a change in thinking for the IT staff! Another new way of thinking may be performance measurement and benchmarking. Through focusing on performance measurement the IT organization is able to recognize strengths and opportunities; ultimately, leading to continuous improvement.

I particularly appreciated the last half of the book. In these chapters Kress focuses on how IT creates value. He specifically covers how value is created through managing costs. Moreover, value is created through enabling the business to be more effective. The value section is followed by tricks of the trade and criteria for defining a high performing organization.

“Accenture’s proprietary research into high-performance IT has drawn a clear cause-and-effect relationship between high-performance IT and high performance across the entire enterprise.” (p. 99). Kress concludes by outlining the value that Accenture received through this transformation. If we start with the end in mind, it is difficult to argue against following a path that has true business value.

If you would like to read more, grab yourself a copy from our International, European, American and itSMF USA webstores.