Chris J Powell

The Utility Infrastructure of IT – Are IT Professionals really under appreciated?

I had several defining moments hit home with me this week as I struggled to get back into the groove of my daily grind but there is one that really stood out for me.  A client and I were going over some of the projects and priorities for his small department over the next year and how he was going to be able to focus on building a stronger tie between his department and the other LOBs (Lines of Business).  His biggest struggle that he has in being taken seriously is that for the most part the expectation of IT within his organization is that it is just like the Gas & Electric…flick a switch or turn a knob and everything just works.

The client then went on to describe a situation when one of his servers had to be taken off line after 690 days of continual usage.  690 DAYS is incredible.  My Web Host claims 99.99 uptime which would still include at least 52.6 minutes of down time in the year and this server achieved nearly 1,000,000 continual operating minutes and his users complained when a SCHEDULED power outage to the Server Room caused this server to go down for 1 hour after the UPS reached its limit and forced the server to disconnect.


This story probably resonates with many IT Professionals in that they are only really noticed for when things DON’T work and are rarely remembered for the things that happen to allow you and every other cog in your corporate wheel to function, get paid and well do the things that you need to do.


In many cases the blame falls firmly on the shoulders of the IT Departments who were not seeking glory or did not want the recognition.  The danger is, that LOBs are now not just looking to IT for answers, they are going directly to service providers who have made many of your functions a Commodity and can sell they IT services cheaper than  you can provide them.  I believe that the future is not in the Cloud as has been touted by many experts…it is about the creation of a new direct function that focuses beyond just the Information Technology or Information and Communications Services.  I would like to build upon the concept of UTSD or Unified Technology Service Delivery…that combines and focuses directly on the core relationship that needs to be there as a Service Delivery to the users of Technology and the core data that makes a modern business operate.


I find that with the more work that is being driven to IT Departments and the tighter focus on the IT Budget as nothing more than a cost center, there will either be a breaking point for IT Leaders or an epiphany for LOB managers where the vitality of business is directly attributed to the ability to communicate, build and execute on an effective Technology Plan.  It does not mean that every company must be bleeding edge and leverage the latest and greatest technology innovations…while that would be great for Tech Companies it is unrealistic for the economy to return to the DOT COM bubble days.  IT Leaders around the globe need to stand up and be heard.  Provide real and unique value to the business and earn a seat at the table when it comes to the direction of the organization that they serve.


It is no longer good enough to be the Protector of Data, Builder of a Connected App or Steward of the Hardware.  The IT Department is a functional LOB that can and does for 1000s of companies build value both internally and externally.  Act like it.  It doesn’t matter if you are just 1 in IT or 1 of 3,000 in IT your voice needs to be heard by those that lead the direction of the organization and ultimately hold your fate in your hands.


The Principles of Enterprise 2.0 and the Consumerization of IT are completely controllable by you in the IT Department…I call out to you to leverage the insights and information of those who were both successful and those who fell flat on their faces in building a sustainable IT Utility that the business that you support can not only be proud of but who looks to you for the answers…and if that happens…you better have the answers!


Will UTSD catch on…well only time will tell but the time is now to take charge of the future.  Lay your destiny out before you and focus on what tomorrow will bring.


Cheers and have a great week.


Chris J Powell

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