Exploring the broader organisational issues
By Martha Bennett, Tony Lock & Dale Vile
IT funding is under stress, but it’s not all about cutting budgets
When we recently asked 294 respondents in an online survey about what’s happening with their IT budgets, responses ranged from funding being plentiful to barely having enough budget to cover core aspects of the operation. Over half are really feeling the squeeze, but only a third actually report a decrease in funding in real terms.
Morale, IT/business alignment and working styles are closely correlated with funding
Given the pressure on budgets, it comes as no surprise that morale is low in many IT departments. However, in organisations where pressure on funding is not as great, IT departments feel much more positive about things. The objectives of IT and the business also tend to be far better aligned in organisations where IT budgets are adequate. Where money is less tight, the working style between the business and IT is more likely to be based on collaboration and negotiation, and IT is also more likely to be regarded as an integral part of, or equal partner to, the business.
IT/business alignment, a focus on service delivery and shared infrastructure go together
Clearly defined services, coupled with formally specified and agreed service level agreements, are much more likely to be in place in organisations where the objectives of IT and the business are better aligned. Such organisations have also made greater progress in reporting on how the IT function is doing as well as in measuring user/stakeholder satisfaction. Justifying investment in shared infrastructure and tools also seems easier when IT/business alignment is better.
The ‘good begets good’ principle creates a virtuous circle in progressive organisations
Strong correlations between a clear services focus, comprehensive reporting and accountability, an emphasis on shared infrastructure investment, and overall alignment of IT and business activities are indicative of some of the things it takes to create an optimum environment for effective IT delivery. While it’s obvious when you point this out, and easy to see how a virtuous circle can be created, the truth is that the correlations work the other way round too. Many respondents are clearly caught in a vicious circle, or at least a rut of mediocrity, in which IT and the business are disjointed, and good practices are a challenge to implement in a sustainable manner.
Private cloud adoption is more likely where a virtuous circle exists
Adoption of private cloud architecture tends to go hand in hand with the virtuous circle phenomenon. Increased funding availability is likely to be a factor here, but so too is an enhanced understanding of value. The benefits of modern, shared, flexible infrastructure that enhances service delivery are likely to be better appreciated, and indeed have a greater impact, in a more joined up and service-centric IT-business environment.