Extreme Makeover: IT Department Edition?

How does your IT department look from an outside perspective, maybe even your CIO’s perspective? Check out this insightful post from Centurylink’s own Blake Wetzel. It really asks the big questions that all of us should be exploring!

Originally posted in the ThinkGig Blog.

We’ve all had those moments: A time when we take a hard look at ourselves and we suddenly see ourselves in a new light – as others see us – and it doesn’t match up with our ideal vision.

Have you taken a hard look at your IT department? From an outsider’s perspective? Maybe from your CIO’s eyes? When we talk to our customers, we are starting to hear more complaints from the forward-looking CIOs. They go something like this: “I need my IT staff to stop thinking about keeping the lights on and computers running and instead figuring out how they can help advance our top line goals….or impact bottom-line.”

Does this ring true for you? We bet it does and we see this driving an interest in IT outsourcing. Outsourcing the “housekeeping” of your IT operations has many benefits but, when it comes to actually doing it, it has just as many roadblocks.

The challenges we see facing enterprises today are:

  • Culture: We talk to customers and partners who say their IT staffs are so engrained with equipment and “owning” their own servers, they aren’t even looking at outsourcing for fear of relinquishing control. This is a cultural issue and just like any cultural change, it will take time to change people’s minds about “the way they’ve always done things.” It’s like steering the titanic and to be honest, I believe some people will never be won over.
  • Legacy organizational structure: In addition to the cultural challenge to overcome, there is the organizational structure that hinders the process. For example, where will the telephony guy go if you outsource your voice network? I would argue that he/she could be moved to a new role that could impact one of the things we are hearing CIOs want – impacting corporate initiatives or revenue. Moving to an outsourced model will require some significant re-jiggering of the IT organization.

There is no shortage of challenges facing IT organizations today but if they don’t read the writing on the wall (or hear what their CIOs are saying); they will be pigeon-holed into a support role as opposed to a strategic driver of the organization. Outsourcing day-to-day operations is one way to free up staff to focus on more strategic initiatives.

Is it time to take a hard look at the value your IT department is bringing to your organization? Have you started outsourcing and faced these or other challenges?


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