Do not just get value for business out of IT. Find out how to get the same value consistently, that is, everyday. Good business value should never be a one-off thing. It should be an all-time thing if you would like to see a direct impact on the ROI.
IT is not a magic wand anymore
Several years ago, people would look at IT as a magic wand because of the things it was purported to be able to do. However, today, that perception has changed drastically. After all, everyone has realized that IT is just a tool of business, and a tool that costs quite a good sum of money. Thus, the question on the minds of many managers is; how much value is the business going to get out of this system? Will IT contribute anything to the ROI? If the answer to these two questions is no, the next thing that the managers think of is how to downsize IT.
Start by changing the terminologies associated with IT
Every IT director has heard of the phrase that IT is a cost. Whenever the term cost is mentioned, only one thing pops into the mind of the accountant - how to minimize as much of it as possible. Thus, the first most important thing to do is to find out how to change the terminologies associated with cost and replace them with better terms like value center or tech center.
IT needs a transformation such that it goes from cost center to a value addition center. IT needs to be considered as a place of value, a department that makes other processes possible and one that needs to be looked at differently. If you are an IT team that is struggling to redefine yourself, start referring to yourself as a value center and find ways in which you can be seen to add more value to the business.
IT should embrace trends that will help the business beat its competitors
Every year or a couple of years, a new IT trend comes into the market. IT should find out more about such trends and know whether they will help them add more value to the business. If yes, they should embrace them fully. Consider a trend like social-driven technology, which enables the business to market its products, and push its brand online to as many people as visit their social media pages and outlets. If maximized, this technology can bring the business a lot of value.
Align internal and external systems to ensure more customer satisfaction
IT should consistently seek ways to increase customer satisfaction. Every business revolves around customers and therefore the more satisfied they are, the better. One of the ways to streamline the way in which customers access business services is by aligning the internal and external systems so that the customers can find what they need, without necessarily going through the customer service desk.
By aligning the internal and external systems, by integrating social media into business, by industrializing data and enhancing many more processes, IT will help make the business more customer-centric thus enabling customers to guide the business in a much better way. Remember, a satisfied customer will be the best ambassador for your business, and will spread the good word.
Where the mistake comes in ...
It is not that the IT directors do not know that IT can add returns to a business. It is just that somewhere along the way, they make a mistake. I will explain it simply; at a meeting, the IT director, or the CIO says that a certain system that will cost the business $500,000 to implement will bring the business returns of $1,000,000. The budget is passed.
However, after the system is implemented:
1. IT just moves on to the next project and unless there is a problem, they do not go back to that one
2. IT does not even attempt to keep track of the benefits realized from the system
3. There is no profit realization plan in place
4. IT leaves the business of finding out how much IT has impacted the ROI to the business
Now, if IT does the abovementioned things, how will they convince the CEO that IT is not a cost but a value center?