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Operating Principles

The evolution of IT as a business partner is illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 3Figure 3 Evolution of IT.

Table 1 shows the operating principles of managing IT as a cost center versus managing IT as an investment.

Table 1 Managing IT as a Cost Center Versus Managing IT as an Investment

Cost Center Management

Managing IT as an Investment

Project requirements are "thrown over the transom" (often as solutions masquerading as requirements).

Business teams including IT as a "business" work together to specify requirements.

Priorities are set by user intuition.

Jointly developed business cases are used to determine priorities.

Acceptance testing is done by users when time permits.

Acceptance testing is done to exacting standards and scheduled with accountabilities and deliverables.

Infrastructure is a reactive afterthought.

Strategic architecture/infrastructure is a competitive advantage.

Application development is an art.

Application development is a science, applying discipline and rigor.

IT infrastructure is overhead.

IT infrastructure serves as an internal service provider.

Communication is task-related (isolated).

Relationships control communication.

User requirements are accepted verbatim. Even worse, user requirements are created without the user.

The right questions are asked and requirements are specified jointly.

Requirements documents are non-iterative.

Prototypes and proof of concept are required.

Projects belong to IT only.

All projects require business unit champions and business project champions.

Technology for the sake of technology.

Alignment with business objectives.

Reactionary, task-oriented.

Proactive, relationship-oriented.

Working in silos.




IT for the sake of IT.

Customer-centric IT.

Lack of metrics.

Performance metrics.



Following orders.

Creative solutions.

Authoritarian decision-making.

Decentralization of decision-making.

Cost containment.

Building for efficiency and effectiveness, architecting for growth and business alignment.

Vendors managed by the users.

Vendors managed by IT.

Vendor invoices go to the user.

Vendor invoices go to IT.

Success is based on the following principles:

  • Managing technology as a strategic asset rather than managing technology as a cost center.

  • Building a culture based on shared values.

  • Recognizing and communicating value to the enterprise.

Most importantly, success is based on partnering with the business and becoming part of the business, rather than being apart from the business.

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