If IT is not adding strategic value, Commoditize IT – I

at this point, some random thoughts on the topic are:-

enterprise IT landscape consists of servers, desktops, operating systems, applications, telecom etc. enterprise have elaborate process to procure these components, deploy and operate them, support them and finally discard them.

at each step, there is associated cost which the enterprise has to bear in order to leverage IT to enable or automate its business processes.

can these IT environment components be examined through some kind of lens and analyzed for their strategic value to the enterprise or those which enable an enterprise to have an edge over its rivals by having or doing something which others can’t or haven’t?

components which do not add or enable strategic value to the enterprise, is it possible for an enterprise to classify and treat them as them as ‘commodity’ items? by classifying items as commodity, can IT then bring the cost of procurement, deploy and operate, manage and retire these items just as in the case of commodity items like for example – electricity etc?

before jumping the gun, some points that would need to be thought through are:-

What makes a resource truly strategic?

  1. is it scarcity?
  2. is it “how” you use the resource even though it may be available in abundance? 

at the first glance, the second point makes sense. a resource maybe available in abundance but if you dont use it to enable a strategic business process, it might end up being of no use to an enterprise.

before going on further, i would also like to state that  in my opinion, its the business processes that define what underlying IT resource is viewed as strategic to an enterprise. however, there may be components in the IT layers which still can be classified as a “commodity”  even though the process they support might be strategic to the business.

take a case of a business process like supply chain which is very strategic to a manufacturing origanization. the supply chain application may be IT enabled by an application hosted on a unix platform. while the supply chain as a business process can be of strategic value to the business, the tasks of ensuring the unix server is up and running and managing the unix server etc can be treated as a commodity tasks/items.

more on this in next few posts….

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