The critical need for technology to achieve core business goals has never been more pronounced.  Business is rapidly advancing the use of technology to generate better profit margins, improved customer relationships and competitive advantage. As a result, the degree of change within IT organizations is unparalleled. Simultaneously, alternative “business” options for IT services now available outside corporate IT Operations are rapidly multiplying.

Cloud service providers such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are able to quickly resolve the business demands for faster IT provisioning, increased storage capacity, faster response time, and more flexible software business applications. Managed Service Providers can cost-effectively resolve or alleviate the resource handicaps of traditional, internal IT service organizations. But much of what IT does cannot be “handed off” to externally available services. Too often the most expensive parts of maintaining the IT infrastructure are the very items that a service provider won’t touch … forcing IT shops to continually do more with less until the required IT service management  deliverable collapses.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), the burden of aligning IT with the Business falls almost exclusively on IT.  Yet at the very time that IT is getting better and better at what it does, the perceived value of IT is becoming increasingly marginalized. I predict that the IT organizations that survive and succeed will be those that effectively “market” themselves to their business customers. The IT survivors in the next 2-3 years will be those who understand and position their unique competitive differentiation. The long term winners will know how to attractively package their Service Portfolio within the collateral of the Service Catalog. The internal IT winners will be those that execute against a strategic IT marketing plan.

[Editor's Note: This post is part of the annual "Cutter Predicts ..." series, compiled at the Cutter Consortium website.]

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Bill Keyworth

William Keyworth focuses on IT operational excellence. Bill has established a reputation as a credible and consistent voice in maximizing business value from IT operations.

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