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Balancing IT efficiency and effectiveness maximise customer satisfaction, minimise costs

Chris Morris, Associate Vice President with IDC's Asia/Pacific ICT Services Group | April 9, 2014
Asian CIOs understand that successful business transformation demands an effective IT department that operates within a framework of processes, by a group of people that can deliver business-directed technology solutions.

If we consider how the applications in the typical portfolio are spread over our quadrant diagram, it is common to see them placed in the lower two quadrants. While a CIO might want to be seen as being in the upper right quadrant, that is not realistic; applications must be sourced and delivered in a way that balances efficiency against effectiveness.

What that means is that the ideal application portfolio supporting the existing and future business services will be an amalgam of outsourced, cloud and on-premises services. This reality makes it crucial for IT departments to be proficient in the management of these services from end to end i.e. from the datacenter to the end-users' devices.

Wearing the service provider hat

Fortunately, leading IT departments have in the past few years begun to position themselves as 'service providers' rather than technology managers. Instead of building out IT infrastructure to support what the business wants or needs, they are defining "services" as a way to package everything, from projects, applications, infrastructure to processes.

This is a good thing for LOB managers, but the concern is that due to traditional IT's focus on technology, and with much of what the business units now want being sourced externally, new services may fail to meet both efficiency and effectiveness metrics.

This challenge is significantly altering how the traditional IT department is being managed. The issues concerning most CEOs, CIOs and CFOs are: 

  • How will internal IT departments and external providers step up and deliver effective and efficient management of IT services that are essential to achieving business objectives? Sometimes internal IT will not be the technology service provider of choice for the enterprise
  • To what extent will future business service provision consist of brokering the capabilities of external service providers? The challenge lies here: CIOs become brokers of services for business, sourcing the best solutions to meet LOB demands. However, that role presents challenges in service delivery management.

CIOs and IT managers understand how demanding internal customers are around technologies that enable the business transformations required to sustain business growth. Thus, IT departments that succeed in managing services delivered via cloud models will be heralded as chief innovators. Succeeding in utilizing game-changing technologies is positioning the business for future growth. Those IT environments that increase their service delivery capability will in turn increase the level of effectiveness and efficiency in their delivery of these transformative technologies to their internal customers.

With the availability of more business-focused applications, business expectations of IT will continue to rise. Regional enterprises now demand effective IT service providers (both internal and external) that deliver business-facing services which satisfy their core demand for business transformation through technology optimization and innovation.


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