2011
10.17

Answers on a self-addressed postcard … or just comment on this post.

10 comments so far

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  1. For the same reasons that they have running water, electricity and a cleaning service… it is (or should strive to be) an essential part of the process of shipping product & generating profit for the owners / shareholders.

    A better question might be “How much IT does a business need?” I.e. At what point does a business have IT just for the sake of it.

  2. Evolution.
    Each species evolves to be better, smarter or more deadly in order to survive.
    Armadillos evolved to have a hard exoskeleton to protect them, Ostriches evolved to run faster rather than fly to avoid predators and some snakes evolved to have deadly venom to help with hunting.

    Early businesses may have sent communications via smoke signals to let customers know the latest bear hides were in stock, and then later communicated by mail for greater distance and coverage. Later as technology developed (evolved) we saw telegrams, and then telephone communications and newspaper advertisements to attract customers.

    The creatures (including mankind) evolved for the sole purpose of survival (defence/predatory) and the same can be said for businesses.

    If a business was still sending out communications about its latest offering via smoke signals or mailing everyone in a 100 mile radius, it’s going to be less effective/successful as an evolved business that e-mails 100,000 customers or places viral adverts on the internet to a target audience of billions.

    Businesses, especially in this current economic climate, are using IT to evolve. They are (or should be) using IT to help streamline and automate processes, introducing efficiency and cost savings across the board.

    In short businesses have IT to help them evolve, and be better than the rest, hence surviving in today’s unstable economic environment.

  3. To keep track of data needed to make decisions

  4. Aidan, I believe that question is a bit ambiguous. You could say that a business needs IT in order to compete in their chosen market space, or to automate tasks, or enhance efficiency, or to put it bluntly, reduce redundant staff and reduce redundant processes.

    A better question would be to say “Why does a business need IT support?” I have given a few reasons below:

    -No computing/handheld device is foolproof or unbreakable, and somebody needs to get it fixed (or provide a fix)
    - The company may have an aging employee population, who have skills to do their job role only, and have not gone the way of teaching themselves other computing skills (IT in this instance takes on a training role, I work in a school with very little turnover of staff, some who have been here 20+ years)
    - Computing has changed some of the core roles of businesses, and the servers/workstations supporting these roles need constant reviewing/patching/upgrading to ensure that security, workloads and reliability are under control (otherwise the proverbial hits the fan, I once spent 5-6 hours straight getting the payroll system back up and running due to accounts payable having an older version of the bank’s software & a 56K modem to connect with)
    - IT is always evolving. In education, new technologies need to be trialled (or at least considered), which means that someone inside the school needs to take on this responsibilty. The IT department is often the best choice to trial new software.
    - As more devices come into the hands of your employees (in my case employees and students) there needs to be a constant IT presence when decisions are to be made on what devices each year level gets. I don’t care what anyone says, managing a rollout of 70+ Ipads is HARD.
    - IT needs to hold the umbrella when the cloud decides to rain on your parade
    - Someone has to manage the new super-duper Hyper-V servers :)
    - “Can you help me with this projector in [insert room name here]?”

    I could go on for hours.

    • Ah, but the question -was- why does a business have IT?

  5. Why does a business have IT?

    Three reasons
    1) Efficiency
    2) Flexibility
    3) The Shiny factor

    Flexibility & Efficiency:
    I’m IT for an accounting firm, they’ve gone paperless, and are always working remotely at home, at a client’s, at the beach etc. Literally EVERYTHING we do, is done on a computer, they have very high standards. I’m the guy that has to deal with the software/hardware vendors when things break. They want a physical presence, a person that understands what’s going on and can deal with the problems so they don’t have to.

    The other reason is what I call “the Shiny factor”. Again, working for an accounting firm, the managers/owner group are older than the rest of the staff. They see other people, they want iPhones, iPads, iClouds, iDon’tCares, iWhatevers they see their kids/friends/family/other people using. They want the latest and greatest technology. What they don’t want is to understand how ANY of the said things they do work. They just expect it to work, and to be shown how to do the particular thing they want to do. They don’t care how their iWhatsit factors in to company security, they don’t want to know how to connect to their email account, they just want it and want it to work.

    Back to the original question…

    WHY does a business have IT?

    To understand technology….so they don’t have to.

    By definition, if it’s got electricity going to it, it’s technology and therefore IT’s responsibility to manage/maintain/control.

    • You have assumed that IT is the people. That’s a very dangerous mistake to make.

  6. I don’t know and I basically don’t care. My job is to make all those servers work. And they pay me money for that. Why do I need to know why do they need it? Business – is their job, and IT is mine.

  7. I love this question because I think most IT pros get it wrong and it can be a valuable exercise for IT pros to reflect on their reason for being.

    The purpose of IT is to help organizations achieve their core business objectives through the strategic use of technology. Usually that simply means to increase revenue / profit / shareholder value, but certainly there are other core objectives (think nonprofits, governments, etc).

    There is an assumption that technology should make a business “better”. Either by making the business more agile, or help them produce more widgets at a lower cost, or helping their employees be more productive, etc. The purpose of IT, and all the individuals within it, is to make that assumption a reality. Your job is to implement and manage technology that makes the business “better”. If an organization is spending more on IT than the value that the IT organization is providing back to the business, then there’s a serious problem somewhere.

    • -Like-

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