Mar 25, 2021
Thinking About IT Business Value
Written by Nathan Johnston, Chief Technology Officer
Technology and development projects are often defined by IT in terms of asset and total ownership costs. Still, no project should move forward without clearly defined goals for business value success. Even server and network upgrades need measurable business value goals, not just capital and maintenance costs. IT needs to initiate projects that drive business value and not just cut costs or maintain the status quo.
There are many ways to define value within an organization, but there are some large categories where IT can deliver significant business value. These include:
Productivity – This is one of the traditional drivers of technology adoption. How can we help the business operate faster, less expensively, and more efficiently? Productivity gains can be direct when a given business function can deliver more units in less time. Or, productivity gains can be indirect by freeing-up the time of employees from repetitive tasks to do work of higher value to the business.
Competitive Advantage – In today’s business environment, technology has taken a front seat in delivering goods and services. Technology can transform the delivery of value to customers to push ahead of the competition and provide new value to traditional customers.
Customer Satisfaction – Much in the same way that technology can deliver a competitive advantage, technology can provide higher customer satisfaction levels by transforming how goods and services are delivered and providing key metrics on how those goods and services are consumed and used. This allows product management to tune product offerings to provide even more value and satisfaction to customers.
A pivotal concept to defining goals is to ensure that they are measurable and deliver real value to the business. Vague and unmeasurable goals do little to demonstrate value and may give a false sense of success when the reality is much different. Set clear, measurable goals, and track them so adjustments can be made along the way to ensure the project’s success. Using these metrics to help demonstrate IT’s value to stakeholders can help make a case for future projects and open the way for new ideas about how technology can benefit the business.