IT as a Business – ITaaB

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The annual Computerworld Forecast Study is out, revealing the IT priorities for this year in key spending areas like new technologies, and staffing up. According to the IDG-funded research, IT budgets are increasing and cloud services in particular are booming. IT is slowly but surely becoming a business in and of itself inside every company today.

With CIOs and CEOs joining forces to streamline IT decision-making, 2015 is showing growth in all areas and on all levels, according to the whitepaper. IT budgets have not only remained in place, but they’ve actually increased in 2015 by 4.3%. The spike potentially reflects a shift in IT decision making thanks to a younger generation of leaders.

A full-fledged business pillar

Ten years ago, IT meant a bunch of geeks holding together the company’s infrastructure. Today, IT has expanded to include experts in all kinds of areas, including things like IoT, BYOD, Unified Communications, and SaaS. IT departments today have revenue growth and competitiveness on their agenda, not just tinkering. Today’s IT managers prioritize the hell out of these aspects, with time to spare so they can also map out the profitability.

According to IDG’s research, “Cloud projects are the single most important technology initiatives right now and expected to cause the most disruption in the future, with the goal being to improve service and generate new revenue streams.” These projects include IaaS (Internet as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), hybrid cloud services, and many others.

The top new area of spending this year is Internet of Things (IoT), with 32% of the polled companies saying this is a new category that deserves attention (and investments, implicitly). Second in line is HPC (high-performance computing), with an estimated 22% of companies gearing up to lavish out in this area. Ranking third, 16% of companies are ramping up their Energy Saving efforts while attempting to reduce their carbon footprint.

These new initiatives are mostly commanded by the Chief Information Officer and his IT minions, driving not just growth in this area, but a revolution of the first order since the term ‘cloud computing’ was first uttered two decades ago.

An IT manager’s agenda for 2015 (and beyond)

The CIO’s role remains unchanged for the most part, but IT managers today must possess an affinity for business on top of their technical mantra. We might as well coin IT as a Business (ITaaB) right here, right now. According to the IDG report, IT’s agenda now includes the following priorities:

  • optimizing existing investments
  • cutting costs
  • optimizing and automating business processes
  • growing revenue
  • accelerating business process and agility
  • improving collaboration with business-orientedgrowing profitability
  • enhancing competitiveness
  • growing market share
  • attracting new talent
  • getting better acquainted with customers
  • other

IT’s business-oriented approach to spending with an eye on ROI is a good first step in the future seen through the eyes of Arthur Jensen in Sidney Lumet’s 1976 drama, Network. I’ll leave you with the revelatory passage below, but if you still crave more statistical goodness, check out the full report here.

“The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that… perfect world… in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.”

– Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty), Network, 1976

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