Can IT Create Business Value?

I look forward to sharing my thoughts related to IT business and management practices. I am interested in a variety of topics pertaining to the IT profession and the role of IT in creating value. We have been researching the topics of IT value and IT innovation for almost a decade, and that includes putting some tangible mechanisms in place for people to apply in their daily jobs, enabling better value creation through the use of IT. We (IT shops) have been so busy ensuring that the infrastructure runs smoothly, that customer requirements and expectations are met, that support is one click away, that we sometimes forget about a unique role that IT can play in a company by actually contributing to future value creation and business growth. In many cases we do it without acknowledging it, and so it goes unnoticed.

At the beginning of this past decade, our IT organization was challenged to measure the impact of IT's solutions to Intel's business results. So, with the help from Finance, we expanded our typical operational metrics to include those related to business impact, such as time to market for our products, capital purchase avoidance, throughput time, and others. We worked closely with our lines of business to quantify and measure improvements from IT solutions, and establishing better internal customer relationships. The data and results produced prove beneficial to IT and the customers of our solutions. We have also learned from the difficulties we encountered. For example, not every IT solution comes with a completed ROI. The lack of business value tools and understanding makes it difficult to get started. Speaking business benefit from an IT view requires common language and common indicators to gauge and value successful IT programs.

Now, more than ever, it is important that IT shops show that investment in IT will yield a positive business return that will be felt by the shareholders.

In future blogs I will share some of the methodologies we developed and continue to create in partnership with academia and industry fellow travelers, such as the IT Capability Maturity Framework (CMF).