Blogger: Lyn Robison
Since becoming the new research director for Burton Group's Data Management Strategies service, I've been asking people this question: If an IT department had a product, what would that product be?
Several people have told me that IT departments do not produce a product; IT departments only provide a service. My response is to ask if an IT department ever produces any assets through its work, or if it is merely like a janitorial service that just takes care of a business's existing assets.
I can't help but think that an IT department produces something. Like if I were to ask what is the product of a Toyota factory, a mushy answer would be something like "transportation solutions for Toyota customers", but the concrete and obvious answer would be "cars and trucks". In this concrete way, does an IT department produce anything?
I have had some people tell me that IT departments produce software. But I have my doubts about that answer too. Clearly, software is the end product of a software company, but is software also the end product of an IT department?
The fact is that businesses don't pay for IT just to get software. Businesses pay for IT to get the information that is supposed to come out of the software.
The key question is whether information that is truly useful to the business ever comes out of the software that its IT department provides in sufficient quantities to make that software worthwhile. That is the question that we in the Data Management Strategies service hope to help our customers answer in the affirmative. I look forward to hearing thoughts from more people on this topic.