Sunday, October 14, 2007

Capitalism - a new approach for IT

Most corporate environments today utilize the CIO role to oversee the IT infrastructure, provide IT resources for selected projects, guide them through current IT trends that could improve productivity and cut costs. Some CIO's see themselves as helping reshape base business models through use of IT approaches. In reality, in many corporations, CIO's perform a role similar to the Soviet's central planning committee role - determining what products to produce, in what quantity and fitting business requirements within those given products. The results are basically the same, potential business improvements through technology are limited or crippled, business managers are often fearful of CIO/IT involvement, potential gains are limited by centralized CIO/IT provided products. I'm not trying to associate CIO's with Stalin....but if the iron boot fits......Now what would happen if the 'wall came down' and IT needs were handled in more of a capitalist approach? Where business managers could obtain IT products (software, hardware, support, etc.) as they see fit and where a centralized CIO/IT group is more about setting standards and providing guidance? Each business manager has a given budget and they should be able to spend as they see fit as long as they can operate with in the given IT standards...they can purchase software from any vendor, prioritize their work load based on their needs and not centralized needs or constraints, etc. Various business managers could 'cooperate' by combing funds to gain better results, etc. The CIO/IT group could audit approaches and plans to ensure security, standard protocols, etc. are followed. Free market practices for internal business managers/teams? Yes! I think we would see some of the same results as we do in today's market place:
  • increased productivity
  • forced ownership and responsibility
  • results focused reviews
  • reduced costs based on market adjustments and competitive incentives
  • quicker and more flexible IT implementations
  • quality based on business needs
Maybe this is a simplistic approach or thought...or maybe it's why small startups are many times more productive then larger corporate environments (the CIO in a startup is usually just a title that someone gets strapped with to provided the required figure heads to investors).

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