A third of organisations do not have an integrated IT infrastructure that can deliver what the business needs according to a poll from 360IT. The majority of organisations (52%) have what they need for now, but only 15% have an IT infrastructure that is sufficiently flexible to meet their changing needs. [Poll of 202 IT managers carried out in March 2010]
According to Denise Plumpton, an experienced top-tier CIO and non-executive director of 360IT, today, the important challenge is to ensure you have an integrated infrastructure that can deliver what the business needs now, yet is sufficiently flexible to meet your (inevitably) changing needs.
The IT Manager's most important responsibility is to have a clear idea of what the business needs and the scope of any future project or programme. Denise Plumpton said, They also need to be able to communicate this to suppliers effectively if those suppliers are to stand a fighting chance of putting forward a suitable proposal.
Plumpton went on to say, no supplier I've met has yet managed to demonstrate clearly how the various products and services they're showing me actually integrate with one another. Worse, I dont think Ive ever been asked enough detail about what I have in place for the supplier to be able to show me how these offerings will work with my existing systems and services.
The usual response from suppliers is that we just arent structured to approach deals in an integrated way. The account manager is targeted on sales and has a portfolio of products/services to offer. The product managers are focused on developing and promoting their particular product to the exclusion of (and sometimes in conflict with) other products from the same supplier. I can see this is a simple, well-tested way to structure your operations - but it's no longer effective given customers' changing needs, demands and processes, she added.
My message to fellow IT managers and CIOs is to do our bit to improve things and think about what were buying. For suppliers it is to take a look at the business structure of the organisations you hope to serve and aim to match it. You just might see a big improvement in your order book.