IT Services

Actionable dashboards, effective software tools

IT Versus BI

Somewhere along the line, IT (Information Technology) evolved into a service-oriented role in a majority of organizations. According to by Robert Cordray: “Fundamentally, the role of an IT department within an organization is to design, maintain, and support an organization’s information technology infrastructure, thus allowing the organization to leverage both information and technology in an efficient, productive and secure manner. Along with meeting an organization’s technical requirements, today’s IT department must also meet a number of the requirements of the business department. No longer the nerdy kid denied a seat at the “cool table”, CIOs are now assuming their proper place among CMOs and CEOs.” Here are some of the key roles that IT departments are playing within today’s organizations:

1) Network Development: Effective communication and collaboration between teams and departments within an organization are essential for success in today’s business world. And it falls upon the IT department to deploy and operate Internet Protocol networks and advanced communication tools to meet the company’s needs. The IT team is also responsible for developing solutions that grant secure access to the corporate network to customers and other necessary outside parties.

2) Data Supervision: Data driven marketing strategies within an organization rely upon the IT department to provide the means for capturing, storing, managing, analyzing and distributing data to business users that depend upon up-to-date information to make strategic decisions. Along with storing corporate information such as sales data, market research, customer data, financial records and other pertinent data securely in the data center, IT teams are also tasked with implementing big data analytics platforms to store, manage and process massive volumes of raw customer data for hidden insights that can inform better decision making and create competitive advantage.

3) Information Security Management: Recent data breaches at Target and Home Depot underscore the importance of keeping sensitive corporate and customer data protected at all times. With the proliferation of cyber attacks, one of the primary roles of the IT department is to insulate the IT infrastructure and sensitive corporate data from viruses, hackers, and a host of other security threats. Along with deploying the proper tools and technologies to keep data secure, IT leaders need to work closely with HR heads and other C-level execs to make sure that effective security policies and procedures are implemented and enforced at all organizational levels. With the growing adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, allowing employees to use mobile devices for work related tasks, IT departments face new challenges in keeping sensitive data on smartphones and tablets secure.

4) Training and Support: To stay competitive in the information age, organizations must make sure that IT resources are being fully utilized by their employees. Therefore it is incumbent upon the IT team to provide ongoing training and support to make sure that both management and employees remain up to speed with the latest tools and technologies.”

Contrastingly, BI is about “utilizing and adding value” to the technology that IT provides. While IT keeps the internet on, computers networked, email flowing, data secure, and troubleshooting hardware and software . . . BI transforms data into insight for decision makers. At Competitive Analytics, the IT services we and our partners perform are always contextualized to how IT supports the BI function.

Why Do I Need “Business-Centric IT?”

David Jasso posted an insightful blog on November 7, 2013 entitled “Business Centric IT–A Great Idea! But How?” His article published by Gartner research encapsulates why companies need business-centric IT and asks how to achieve this lofty goal.

“Most IT organizations are in some form of transition, from a world where they were the only source of IT services to one where they are part of a larger IT ecosystem where some percentage of IT services are now being delivered by 3rd party SaaS or public cloud providers. As IT’s role evolves from being simply a provider of services to being a provider and a broker of IT services the need to provide transparency into the cost and quality of IT services is increasing. This capability is fundamental to becoming a more business centric IT organization.

The “Business-Centric CIO” paper leverages Gartner research to look at the key capabilities required to provide this increased level of financial transparency. These capabilities include the ability to:

  • Track and manage all IT costs at a service level

  • Model the impact on the cost of services for proposed IT initiatives

  • Present LOB with a detailed “bill-of-IT” that represents actual consumption

  • Benchmark internal costs against industry and like complexity peers

  • Analyze the cost and composition of IT labor

  • Track and manage a portfolio of IT projects

  • Manage vendor performance against contract

  • Integrate service level metrics alongside financial data to support cost/quality trade-offs

  • Effectively track and manage assets

Why Choose Competitive Analytics and Our IT Partners to Conduct Business-Centric IT?

We focus on two key performance metrics that every company should perpetually evaluate: 1) ROIT (Return on IT): As the aforementioned paragraph outlines, companies should have an overall ROIT in order to evaluate IT from how well (or poorly) it is supporting value-added functions such as BI and Advanced Analytics; and 2) ROA (Return on Analytics): This ratio will illuminate companies on what performance enhancements are realized due to deploying BI and advanced analytics. At Competitive Analytics we build the type of performance benchmarks so companies can truly understand their IT and BI investments from a pure business-centric perspective.