Managing resources has been the core of IT for the past 40 years. IT management started by managing scarce technical skills transforming manual functions into automated processes. Resource management has evolved into demand management disciplines including program/project management; PMO, chargeback and IT service catalogues. IT resources and budgets form the basis for judging IT’s success and IT’s role in the enterprise. Growing budgets were assumed to be a sign of strength and IT’s relevance in the enterprise.
Leading IT according to resource management bases IT strategies on an either/or paradigm. Either IT creates value, fueled by increased budgets and investments; or IT cuts its own and enterprise costs to meet falling budget levels. Such a binary strategy isolates IT from the rest of the enterprise, giving rise to thinking about IT as a set of purchased commodity services, rather than a view of technology as a strategic resource.
CIO experience in the past decade shows the limitations of continuing an either/or based strategy. The first decade of the 21st century has been a tough with two recessions, mediocre IT budget growth and increasing pressure on IT as a commodity service. These factors, among others, indicate that current IT models are losing their potency and relevance. Executives and CIOs want and need a new model for IT.
Leading for results defines a new strategy based on a both/and paradigm. In 2009, leading CIOs proved that IT could deliver both cost reductions and innovation breaking the either/or nature of IT. In 2010 enterprises need both in order to deliver current results and position themselves for the recovery.
In a recovering economy, enterprises need both productivity and capability. They do not want to, nor should they be forced to choose either one or the other. IT can deliver both by managing results in a coherent strategy that recognizes the differences between productivity and efficiency as well as the differences between capability and commodity services.
Managing resources established IT’s role in the enterprise operations. Managing results extends that role and makes it strategic to information-based and business process centric strategies. The CIO that delivers both productivity and capability strengthens the enterprise and IT’s role in it. A CIO delivering either one or the other leaves the future of IT to business choice, competition and chance.