26 June 2012

IT needs to get serious about Asset Management

I am going to start this blog post with a quiz. Which of the following scenarios is the odd one out?
  1. A business services organisation did not recover all of the fees it was due because of poor quality customer data
  2. A telecommunications firm received a large licence charge from a major enterprise software vendor because they had unwittingly exceeded a key licence metric
  3. A transport business continued to provide maintenance services unnecessarily for buildings that it had sold off
  4. A government department delayed an expensive but critical applications upgrade in order to reverse engineer a business case for the project
  5. A utility company had no software support in place for an application because the two people who had the necessary experience took redundancy in a re-organisation.
So which one did you pick?

18 June 2012

Setting the right amount for the IT budget

I regularly see questions in the press and in social networks along the lines of: “What is the right amount to spend on IT?” Often the debate descends into variations of: “It depends.” For years I used to smile quietly to myself as I watched these debates. Why? Because I had the secret formula! Simply count the number of knowledge workers in the organisation (better still the number of full-time equivalents) and multiply by a unit price (until recently £4K - £5K) and you would be pretty much there. Oh, I know there is a lot to challenge with my formula but it was much quicker, easier and no less accurate than all the debate or a benchmark from one of the big analyst firms. Unfortunately, in recent years, my secret formula has stopped working so I turned to some of my trusted advisers to find out what had happened and help me fix it.

13 June 2012

Make the IT function service-oriented

Recently I read an article on the on-line version of Forbes by Mark Settle, CIO of BMC Software (thanks to @marthaheller for highlighting the article). Mark was proposing an IT operating model which he calls "Broker/Integrate/Orchestrate" as a replacement for a more traditional approach he refers to as "Plan/Build/Run". The article is well written but I think Mark creates an artificial gulf between these two ways of looking at IT and neglects another useful alternative: an operating model based upon a portfolio of services.

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