Friday, March 30, 2007

IT has more business knowledge than Business

If the title interests you, then read on...

Recently I read an interesting thought on Enterprise Architecture.

Traditionally, the business 'ideates', and 'decides' what kind of projects they want to do. IT 'takes the orders' and builds them for business. But eventually, over a period of time, IT gets involved in understanding the business requirements, the kind of changes that are happening in the systems, and becomes masters in those business processes.

The business process knowledge is 'tacit' in the IT folks who are maintaining in those systems. The business sponsors who funded the IT projects might have moved on. But the business process knowledge in those IT systems stays within the IT group.

Now, the question is, How can IT take advantage of this competency?. Its a critical and important question, for a IT organization to "grow" and not just to "deliver".

With this capability, IT has the potential to "propose" new projects based on the technology competency and business knowledge. It can jointly work with business to carve out new projects. The key here is both sides have to respect each others' ideas. That would ensure the collective success.

Now the question is, IT has been traditionally a development shop. This tacit business knowledge might have been there in documents/individuals. But, how to identity and tap those potential?. It requires a "new" skill. And that, is exactly, Enterprise Architecture is all about.

The EA office would ensure business-IT alignment, collaborative planning, standards, new markets, efficiency and Growth (to business and IT).

Using EA, if IT can propose new projects that are successful and demand a certain share in the new revenue that is acquired out of new projects, IT really becomes a 'profit center', not a 'cost center'.

Otherwise, if IT has to remain as a 'order takers', then its better to 'outsource' the entire IT to India. Because, you will get lot more good deals with better quality there.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Next Generation IT services

One of the biggest challenges that is currently being faced in the Indian IT industry is 'Lack of excitement' among the employees on Technologies.

I have seen the industry for the past 10 years. And the change is visible. The industry has grown exponentially. There are lot of new talents. And Plethora of projects.

But, so far, the industry has always executed the Projects in 'Staff augmentation' model, where all managerial ceremonies are well taken care of. Right from Processes, Quality, Escalation, communication, Resource rampup/Rampdown, Tight budgets, slogging, Schedule, etc.. But, one thing that was left out in the whole ceremony is the poor 'Technology'. It is pity to see that 'Technology' as the odd man out in an 'IT services' business.

Companies have managed to maintain top-line growth and bottom-line productivity. And they ran it as any other business, probably with very good management skills. And now, they are struggling to re-establish themselves as 'Technology / Thought Leaders'.

The last decade has completely established 'IT job' as a lucrative job, rather than a challenging/prestigious job. This has an impact of the new generation of employees as well. The new set of people who are joining has completely different set of mindset in terms of aspirations, again Technology being the last priority.

Studies are showing that while revenues are growing in every other IT company, the productivity per employee is going down year after year. Attrition is increasing year after year.

So, What is the solution?. Relook at 'IT services' as 'Technology-Intensive business'.

Partner with Industry and academia to 'contribute to the ecosystem' and 'encourage Innovation'. Of course, some comapnies are doing little amount of this kind of work. But it is not widespead, even within those companies.

Time has come to rethink our next generation.