How does your organization view technology?

Published on: 12/05/2011 By: Gorfine, Schiller & Gardyn

The Mind of Mark
“Thoughts from Our Management Consultant” 

For the last 20 years, I have focused on designing, developing and implementing world-class finance, process and technology solutions for clients ranging from Mom & Pop Start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. What I have recognized during this time is that regardless of the organizations size and focus, issues and opportunities seem to be pretty consistent. This blog focuses on the good, the bad, and the ugly of what our clients face on a day to day basis.

 How does your organization view technology?

 This is a relatively simple question; however, its answer may have profound impact to your organization!

An organization’s IT capability correlates to how its leadership perceives the importance of IT in achieving its long-term strategy. This perception may fluctuate dramatically across organizations. One organization may view IT as a “necessary evil” with no strategic value, while another organization may view their IT team as critical to maintaining or achieving a competitive edge in the marketplace. Each of these perceptions of IT carries with it an investment cost. Below are the levels normally associated with perceived IT value:

  1. Strategy View: This view recognizes that IT is strategically important to developing and / or maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Expectations of the IT organization include innovation, establishing new business lines and driving into new markets.
    Major Focus: Strategic Goals                             IT Investment: High


  2. Enabler View: This view recognizes IT as having mission critical dependencies with its functional business partners. Expectations of the IT organization include proactive business model support, anticipation of business needs, understanding of the business environment, and prevention of IT threats.
    Major Focus Area: Business Requirements        IT Investment: Medium – High


  3. Commodity View: This view sees IT as a basic support mechanism to the business. Expectations of the IT organization is that it is cost efficient, leverages standard processes and practices, provides a measurable / auditable environment, and takes direction from the business owners.
    Major Focus Area: Customer Requirements       IT Investment: Medium


  4. Scattered View: This view sees the IT environment as a series of per-function applications. The expectations of the IT organization include the installation and support of off the shelf software, project based / functional focused enhancements, and standard operations and support.
    Major Focus Area: Product Support                   IT Investment: Low – Med


  5.  No Strategic View: This view sees IT as a basic requirement. The expectations of the IT organization include just-in-time support, minimal enhancements / upgrades, and a small footprint / resource requirements.
    Major Focus Area: Basic Technology                 IT Investment: Low

So, how do YOU view your IT resources and have you made the necessary investment for success? Do YOUR expectations match YOUR investment? If not, the resulting expectations / investment gap may result in an inefficient / ineffective IT operations environment.

It is now time to take a deep breath, outline your expectations, look at your investment to date, and determine if your level of investment is aligned with your IT goals and objectives! If you find that it is not, it is time to take action!

Best Regards,

Mark T. Warren, M.S.
Director of Business Consulting
Gorfine, Schiller & Gardyn, PA

Mark Warren has over 20 years experience in business consulting, including business performance management, contract management and strategic sourcing. He works with clients of all sizes in greater Baltimore, Maryland and throughout the Mid-Atlantic.