The Value of IT

I read a blog entry today on ITToolbox about the relationship or lack thereof between IT and management. It was interesting although something in the comments came up that I thought was even more so.

Geo Bondar wrote

What if the problem is that the business managers refuse to accept how hard software development is? Perhaps they keep demanding that it be easier quicker and cheaper than is possible? Perhaps they do not want to understand IT?

Those hypothetical questions summarize one of the big problems with management at all levels at all types of companies. But there are some more questions. What if management doesn't know how easy it really is? What if they are paying a million dollars on a universal system that is severely deficient?

Management looks at all the Powerpoint displays and judges based solely on that. Major turnkey software vendors have perfected the presentation sales pitch and only have to sell part of an elaborate system with the ability to expand it with additional modules. In the end management may not understand the shortcomings of such a system and the outrageous costs to get it right.

On the other hand they may forego a particular module in the system insisting that clerical staff can handle all of that with spreadsheets and we already have the software for that.

Management often doesn't have the background to judge the value of software or if custom designed the costs involved. They can just as easily expect too much as they can pay too much. Prudent administrators have to trust IT provided they were wise enough to hire a trustworthy CIO to begin with. It is my belief that a viable IT department (not a software sales rep) should be able to provide accurate cost savings for changes in the information infrastructure or the costs of not making necessary changes.

But then it is also my belief that managers need to be good managers in all areas (IT included) of their business in order to succeed, in order for their business to succeed.

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