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Run IT as a Business - Train Wreck.

By CG IT ·
After I read this article by Bob Lewis, I thought "hey if this catches on, maybe IT isn't doomed to be a an endless money pit like healthcare..

Everywhere I go on consulting gigs, business owners and some executives in larger businesses are all complaining about the amount of money they sink into IT every year. New hardware, new software, more upgrades, more new projects that they don't even know why it's a project. One largue business executive complained bitterly about the IT "experts" when he asks something outside of their speciality. He said their like damn HMO doctors. [His words] Have a cough and your doctor says he has to call in the respitory expert who seperately bills you from your doctor who bills you for calling in the specialist. Ask the head of IT about some security concern and he's gotta hire an expert to come in and tell me the answer rather than giving me the gist of it."

What I believe to be the most important point Bob brings up is, to quote: Whose idea was this, anyway?

Where did the standard model come from in the first place?

The answer is both ironic and deeply suspicious: It came from the IT outsourcing industry, which has a vested interest in encouraging internal IT to eliminate everything that makes it more attractive than outside service providers."

To read the full article from Info World:,0

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Excellent article

by NickNielsen In reply to Run IT as a Business - Tr ...

I think Mr. Lewis got it right.

But then, I'm only a service tech, so what do I know?

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take it from a programmer, service tech

by jck In reply to Excellent article

You're spot on.

I only read the first part of the article, but this is essentially what I've been saying for years. Running an IT shop like an accounting office or any other business isn't going to work out as well.

You know when your quarters end, what is required in self-auditing, etc., in accounting.

You never know when a server is going to take a dive, a router is gonna fail, or when a MS update is gonna hose a custom service on a local machine.

Plus, you can predict your costs in accounting via COLA raises. You never know when a server or COTS software package is gonna jump 3% or 30%. I mean, look at memory prices recently. Think any IT department can plan for a memory plant in Asia to burn down?

As well, taking typical business shortcuts to save money on IT is often detrimental. It means either having to reduce quality of service by cutting staff...or buying less equipment or diminshed quality, which decreases reliability and/or performance.

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Paradigm upheavel

by santeewelding In reply to Run IT as a Business - Tr ...

Fought by free enterprise pen-protector guerrillas.

Good one, CG.

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Most techs have been saying something like this

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Run IT as a Business - Tr ...

for decades.
The run IT as a business model is why

We can't do refactoring.

Why short term bodges look financially viable.

The explanation for the permantly temporary and the temporarily permanent.

Why constant procrastination, sorry I mean investigating until you 'know all the facts' becomes mandatory.

Hurrah, we may have finally communicated, i.e. someone listened.

IT types don't know enough about business, not sure that was ever true, it certainly is less so. Business knows nothing about IT, perhaps we are turning a corner....

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The secret to well-functioning IT departments is...

by DelbertPGH In reply to Run IT as a Business - Tr ...

... brilliant managers and programmers, who understand the workings and purposes of the company, who build systems aimed at the goal of business success rather than the limited and parochial objectives of team and department leaders, and who have the human skills to tease out information from their clients and the leadership to bring them cheerfully into a new place, without friction or resistance. In short, every IT leader needs to be a visionary, an expert in all phases of his industry, a skilled manager, and an all-around great guy. And, lest I fail to mention it, a knock-em-dead nerd with a repertoire of outstanding and relevant technical skills.

Of course, when you get somebody with a set of assets like this, he tends to be running the company, and not working in the bowels of IT.

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Wondered where you were going with that.

by santeewelding In reply to The secret to well-functi ...

****. That was a miniature play with zinger at the end.

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yeah but..... there's a misconception of what IT is

by CG IT In reply to The secret to well-functi ...

There is the IT industry which is the software and hardware manufactures that sell their products to both business and consumers.

Then there is the company IT department which supports computer systems for that company.

The IT department acting as a business comes very apparent with the example of the Los Angeles Police Department's project of putting cameras in police cars.

The Los Angeles Times ran an article about this last week where almost a decade has passed since the city approved the measure and allocated money to the project but not 1 camera has been installed in a police car and millions have been spent on it. IBM is the contractor along with a CCTV vendor. Technology at it's best in costing huge sums of money when other cities have had them in their police cars for a decade.

The "run as a business" only cost the police department millions and they never got a product that worked.

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Does such a person really exist???

by Fregeus In reply to The secret to well-functi ...

I've never seen one. Has anyone?


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Raises hand

by santeewelding In reply to Does such a person really ...

What? You didn't know?

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Horn in the backseat

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Run IT as a Business - Tr ...

That was a great analogy, and very true for many projects that fail. Yes, you fulfilled the requirement (horn) and satisfied the "customer" (who wants it in the back seat), but eventually, the end result is FUBAR; and you'll be back to the drawing board in no time (that, or the soup line). Customers are always right as long as they don't want something that's wrong!

Good article!

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