Running IT as a Business

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Just about every IT executive is hip to the concept of running IT as a business. The real question is how to go about it.

According to BMC CTO Kia Behnia, IT needs to start this transformation at the help desk. In fact, calling it a help desk just highlights that IT is not being run as a service. A help desk is a place where end users can make random requests for assistance. At a service desk, on the other hand, IT people are proactive about delivering IT services in a way that preempts the need for most of those random calls in the first place.

As part of that transformation, Behnia says IT organizations need to create a catalog of services they will provide. They will still handle the occasional special request, but it means that IT will provide a menu of services to the business. The tradeoff the business needs to understand is that by limiting users' choices, the IT department will deliver a range of common services much faster.

You don't need to have an MBA to run IT as a service. But you should borrow some basic concept of business administration, including assigning people to manage IT products, putting people in place to specifically manage suppliers, developing a customer-service capability modeled after a call center and having a small group of solution architects in place to combine various technologies into something useful for the business. By taking this approach, Behnia adds that it becomes easier to show the business exactly where IT is adding value to the business.

IT executives, of course, can choose to study the principles behind the IT Infrastructure Library or attend any one of hundred courses on the subject. But like any great journey, the adventure needs to begin with a few simple steps in the right direction.