IT Value, Like Beauty, Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Oscar Wilde once said that "The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." I shudder to think what young Oscar would have said about I&O organizations that don’t know what it costs to deliver individual IT services let alone the value they deliver to the business. Just knowing that it costs “x” annually to “run IT” is no longer enough.

This might appear a little random at first but I was reminded of something I wrote two years ago when informed last week of a CIO fired because they couldn't articulate the value their IT team delivered to the business.

So what did I remember? “It is often better to provide answers, however embarrassing they might be, before others start to ask awkward questions.” What were the “questions” I referred too? Nothing difficult, just what it costs to deliver IT services and the value that these services deliver to the business.

So ask yourself, “what value does IT deliver to the business?” Not in generic terms like business process-enablement and technology-supported efficiencies. What does the money we invest in IT each year actually deliver to the business in terms of value? More importantly, which IT services deliver the most value and which deliver little or no value?

Hold on a minute though. Do you actually know what “value” is from a business perspective? I’m not talking about the value I&O believes its IT services deliver; I’m talking about what the business thinks.

Am I moving too fast? Let’s take stock of the status quo.

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