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Saturday, February 05, 2005

IT's Moment Of Truth In The Emerging Offshore World

The role of IT in the offshoring world and relationship with business always brings in lot of consternation. Chad Dickerson, CTO, Infoworld writes, In the offshoring world, It all comes down to where you focus your efforts and where you should relinquish control.All who manage IT need to constantly remind themselves of IT's twofold mission. Excerpts with edits:
- First, to recognize and address the technical challenges that the rest of the business can't deal with on its own; and
- Second, to stay engaged with business strategy and operations to ensure that decisions with technology implications made outside of IT don't paint the company into a technological corner. The job is about two things: technical execution and business influence. The irony is that business influence is won gradually or lost quickly through sustained, quality technical execution. IT's job is to do a good job of solving technology problems.

The battle for the soul of IT takes place at the same intersection where different approaches to solving technology problems collide. One camp in the battle believes that it ain't got a thing if it ain't got that hands-on swing - that IT's calling is to adopt solutions with every knob and dial of every system and service exposed and in easy reach for maximum tweakability. Those who make other choices are simply technical girly-men who can't handle the "real" work of IT. This belief gives IT maximum power over its environment and presumably maximum business leverage. In reality, the "we must have our hands on everything" approach simply encourages a lot of useless knob-twiddling and dial-flipping with very little business value. This camp of corporate IT can continue its myopic clinging to hands-on operations as its raison d'ĂȘtre, but I think they are gripping with the cold, stiff fingers of dead men.
The real game for IT is making things work, and making things work in an environment where almost anything can now be outsourced means proving your value by doing a good job of choosing what to let go. Salvation for IT lies in a selfless focus on solving technology problems with the best solutions available. While people in the back office endlessly tweaking a system that could be outsourced better/faster/cheaper, they could be in the front office solving the hard-to-solve problems for their businesses. That's the real soul of IT This is really well thought out article - clearly defining the role of IT managers in this fast changing , glue struck offshoring world. Just as business needs to embrace changing processes for better business results in a continual way, IT management need to recognise that telecom infrastructure,offshoring and economics dictate that they realign their approach towards IT. The ITworld is part of a business ecosystem - these alignments have got to happen regularly and there's no escape from this.

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