Enterprise Application Value

This is a continuation of the last post, The Goal of IT where I tried to separate out how IT as a business function contributes to the goal of a company. Most of my experience is in Enterprise IT – that is IT is a function of a larger business enterprise, not specifically creating IT products or services for sale.

Enterprise IT is typically regarded as a cost center, not a revenue center. We are a support service to the larger business model, not dissimilar to facilities, legal, or human resources.

In the last post, I claim that IT exists to support the goals of the larger business enterprise, which are ultimately, to make money. The way IT accomplishes this is by delivering application capabilities, period. Working application capabilities that are used by business people, to increase their throughput, reduce their operating expense.

The business gets value from application capabilities in the same way a manufacturing plant gets value from machine tools, it uses them to increase the throughput of the manufacturing process. If a machine is not used, it does not increase throughput. The same is true for software – if it is not used, it cannot add value. Continue Reading

The Goal of IT

I recently re-read a book called “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt. I had read it years ago, and at the time it had resonated deeply in my mind. Sometimes it is beneficial to review concepts that resonate.

For years, I have been working in the application development domain within IT. Most of my views on IT are application software centric. I have held these views because it seems natural to me that without some application, all of the physical hardware and infrastructure software and tools don’t really deliver any value. Like principals of engineering, without application, they aren’t terribly useful.

So if we retain that as a principle, it leads us to imply that the purpose of hardware and infrastructure and tools is to support software applications. It does that in two main ways:

1) making application software capabilities available to the user
2) making application software capabilities easier (faster, less costly) to create and maintain

Those are the two main goals of IT infra. If you have another, I am open to see how it plays. If you agree with me, then I believe that infrastructure goals are completely subordinate to application software goals.Continue Reading

Goal Strategy Policy

IT Strategy – what do those two words mean together? What do we mean when we say that we are working on IT Strategy?

In a prior post Vision Strategy Policy I talked about the relationships between Vision and Strategy. I also talked about how goals can relate to vision or strategy, and what I think that means.

So now I want to define IT Strategy – I would insert the word delivery, yielding IT Delivery Strategy, to make it clearer what we are talking about. We are talking about delivering Information Technology capabilities to some customer (internal or external), and how we will organize ourselves to deliver these capabilities.Continue Reading