IT Organizations: Over-Measured and Under-Processed

January, 2004

In today’s fast moving and global IT organization, processes are often severely masked by software and systems tools. The extensive use of automated tools to manage the IT environment has created organizations that are extremely over-tooled and severely under-processed. The end result of this is that many technologists have come to the false conclusion that “the tool is the process.” IT organizations that fall into this category can be recognized by the number of tools they have but only partially use or, in some cases, don’t use at all.

This is often due to the fact that the underlying IT process and its associated value is not understood. However, the real problem lies even deeper than this. IT management has a solid understanding of the technology tools that are used to oversee the environment and deliver the required products and services to its constituency. However, most of these managers will evade any meaningful dialogue about process measurement that reflects the sequence of the activities required by IT staff members or the time required to complete the activities and deliver a specific IT product or service.

To state this in another way, most IT organizations do a very good job of measuring and/or tracking certain aspects of the IT environment, such as database transactions, network uptime, trouble tickets, change requests, and so on. What is missing is the capability to provide the end-to-end measurement and reporting of the IT organization’s transformational processes that govern these and other important activities.

Recently, Computer Economics and Kedar co-hosted a web seminar attended by over 75 technology leaders on the topic of the importance that IT Process Architecture plays in developing an adaptive and agile IT organization. During the seminar an interactive, online poll of the audience was taken regarding the effectiveness of IT process management. They were asked “How effective is your IT process management strategy?” The results of that poll are shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1

It would have been interesting to see the polling results had we asked the question in another way: “How many of you have an IT process management strategy?” It is fair to say that most of the attendees that felt their strategy was ineffective would have probably stated their organizations haven’t developed any real strategy for IT process management at all.

January 2004