Scott Penrose

Does IT Matter

Scott is an expert software developer with over 30 years experience, specialising in education, automation and remote data.

Well? I have not read these books, but they look like the type I should

A car manufacturer

Who will remain nameless, told me that their IT department purchases about 1000 laptops for their engineers every 2 years. These laptops are reasonable, but they have two problems:

  • They are a complete waste for 33% of the staff
  • They are not good enough, or what is required for about 33% of their staff

The Engineers are forced to purchase their own equipment to get their job done, or take longer, or in some cases revert back to doing things by hand.

Meanwhile the IT department advertises how much money it has saved the company this year. Yep the IT department just saved money. It spent less by bulk buying. It spent less by managing all the computers together as one type, one OS etc.

What did this do to the real profits of the company? The Engineers - the real workers and point of the company (I can say this as an IT person) were slower and disadvantaged.

How to fix

This concept of looking at the IT budget is bogus. You need to look at IT being there to help productivity in other ways. Sometimes as a requirement by the customers (e.g. a web site for a product) and sometimes to save people time (e.g. a spreadsheet for calculations, accounting system etc).

Some simple changes:

  • Remember that your IT department is a service department, a cost centre, not a profit centre, costs are a saving else where.
  • Give control of the budget for IT to the departments, not central IT. Then if a department needs more money for special equipment, or more time from the IT department to help manage it, then they have the ability to justify it.
  • Measure the productivity vs IT cost - not cost saving year to year.
  • Start putting people in charge of decisions who use the product, not who are IT experts, who usually know nothing about the Engineering requirements, or worse still the CEO who knows even less about IT or Engineering requirements (this is of course a gross generalisation - please don't take offence).