HBR has a few interesting pieces on IT, which got me thinking.
To me the discussion from Harvard misses the point. IT, when it is purely devoted to infrastructure, like internet connections and telephony, is fine. When IT suddenly gets thrust into the spotlight as a key cost-cutting or revenue-generating project, it isn’t IT anymore.
I think that a lot of the frustration over IT happens when managers look for a free lunch from their IT department. Oh, I heard that there’s some new technology that will let me do my job with fewer people or at a lower cost. Hm… I’ll just tell the IT department to build some gigantic customized software suite that takes advantage of this.
Projects like that are not infrastructure, they’re technology-related competitive advantages. You don’t win by outsourcing your competitive advantage.