IT departments do the business

IT has proved its worth in 2005. In many organisations it has been a year of significant achievements, a year when IT enabled business innovation and business agility while showing prudent control of budgets.

IT has proved its worth in 2005. In many organisations it has been a year of significant achievements, a year when IT enabled business innovation and business agility while showing prudent control of budgets.

In these early years of the 21st century, we have survived the rollercoaster ride of dotcom mania and its inevitable backlash and have been able once again to demonstrate the central role of the IT function to any organisation.

During 2005 the focus has shifted from ruthless cost cutting to prudent investment. There has been money available for IT systems that deliver new business opportunities. There has been money to invest in hardware and systems consolidation - the technology that will deliver future cost savings.

And as organisations have increasingly realised the commercial value of the information treasure trove they hold, it has fallen to IT to unlock that value from the vaults.

On the regulation front, with the compliance screw being turned ever tighter, IT has not only ensured audit trails and transparency but has also delivered direct business benefits from investment in compliance systems.

In the public sector, where IT is so often the subject of derogatory headlines, the prime minister's 2005 targets for the delivery of electronic services have, by-and-large been met.

In the best public sector organisations, IT leaders have used the investment they have received to ensure they are central to the business process reorganisation that will mark the next few years.

IT directors have also been able to make a strong case and secure the budgets for business continuity planning and, while there have been some high-profile IT security failures in 2005, the growing boardroom awareness of the need for data security has helped IT leaders win the backing of the board for prudent investment.

Throughout it all the perennial debates have raged, about where IT sits within the organisation, whether IT should be considered as a cost centre or regarded as a business enabler, whether IT leaders need to be on the board, and how deeply IT representatives should implant themselves within business units.

Although none of this is academic, and there are different answers for different organisations, the real story of the year is that IT is being listened to because it has got on with the job and delivered results.

It has never been business as usual in IT, but in 2005 IT has proved it is real business.

 

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