Agility, service levels, and cost

Some two weeks ago I've been at the EMC EMEA Analyst Summit in France. In one of the session Chuck Hollis, VP Global Marketing CTO of EMC Corporation (what a title, isn't it?) made a very good comment when of the presenters talked about the needs for

  • agility and speed
  • service level fulfillment and improvement
  • cost optimization
of IT when providing services. He pointed out that IT looks at this typically in the order of cost - service level - agility, while business looks at agility - service level - cost. I really like that.

You might argue that business always is talking about IT being too expensive. Yes, they do. But there are reasons for that. On reason is that business still frequently doesn't really has an answer on the "what's in for me?" question. If business doesn't see a value (and supporting the need for agility, e.g. enabling business to become better, is sort of the big theme behind the business value) it looks at costs. No surprise at all. However, if IT provides what business really wants, then the discussion is much less about cost.

With other words: IT has to understand what business really needs. Look at the business services they want, at the business value, and how IT supports agility and speed. Ensure the service levels. And then try to do it at optimized cost.

Honestly: That isn't a groundbreaking insight. Many of us are talking about this since years. But do we act accordingly? Not always. Always having in mind that the order better should be agility - service level - cost than the other way round might help us to become better in Business/IT alignment.


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