On IT Landscape Ownership

Traditionally within an organization, the IT landscape is owned by the CIO. The later was tasked with managing that landscape in a way that is consistent with the business strategy and within the budget constraint set forth by the leadership team. That being said, the landscape was seldom fragmented with low degrees of standardization and integration. Traditional wisdom points to the CIO to be accountable for this reality, and heightened concerns from the rest of the leadership team on the mounting IT costs and sub-par performance.

I would argue from another perspective that the IT landscape is a mere reflection of the business, in particular of the business processes set by the different business units/departments. After all, if there are 6 different processes to acquire customers  some of which are legacy, inherited through acquisitions is it really the CIO’s fault that there are 6 different CRM systems? Who is to take accountability for the underlying support and development costs to maintain these systems running?

When evaluating the IT landscape, it is critical to evaluate it in light of the company’s business processes and most notably the degree of standardization and integration. These two concepts business process and the underlying IT landscape are two sides of the same coin. This implies that there should be a true sense of group ownership and a common strategy to address these areas.

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

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