The IT Project Manager's Dilema: When business owns 90% of IT

The IT Project Manager’s Dilema: When business owns 90% of IT

My last post discussed the commodification of IT project managers which seems to be validated in many ways by a Gartner prediction that by the end of this decade, business groups will own and control 90% of the spending done by IT.

In the early 2000’s IT spending accounted for around 20% of total technology spending, which Gartner Inc. Research Vice President Brian Prentice predicts, the percentage of technology spending by the business (outside of the control of IT) will reach 35 % by 2015.

Eventually, business will own up to the 90% by 2020 predicted by Gartner!

It seems much of this will be driven by the consumerization of IT and the shift to cloud computing.  As Tom Pisello indicates:

The shift of technology spending from IT to the business units is driven by a number of factors, but according to Gartner, is mostly driven by:

  • Consumerization – expectations by users and the business for their systems and applications to look and perform like consumer offerings versus the perceived limited solutions being offered by core IT.
  • BYOD – users purchasing their own work tablets, laptops and other devices.
  • Cloud Computing – where the business procure their own infrastructure, platforms and software as a service.

The role of IT is clearly evolving, where for technology system purchases like marketing automation, CRM, HR and even supply chain management, IT departments are brought in to support the integration of these systems into the enterprise systems, but IT is not leading the purchase project.

The role of IT will certainly have to evolve and you as an IT project manager will have to adapt with it, as Gartner Inc. Research Vice President Brian Prentice puts it:

What’s happening is that people are understanding the value of digitization, the value of information, the value of analysis of that information, and they are understanding it within the context of their job. Within their domain expertise, they are significantly more empowered to get these things done than the IT people who understand the technology but maybe not necessarily the domain within which the IT operates. So, the IT department is in a position of having to adapt and change, and that is to work collaboratively with the business to allow the business to be able to bring to the table what they do best.

If you’re an IT project manager who evolved up from the traditional path of technical subject matter expert to technical lead to IT project manager, the next evolution is to now position yourself from a more strategic business perspective.  If you get a project to launch a new website, for example, don’t just factor in things like what kind of web programming platform, server, database and hardware that will be needed, but also think in terms of what kind of business needs generated this project request and whether there are any other alternatives (such as cloud hosting, shared services, etc.) that could be utilized that will better fit the business needs.

If this hypothetical website project is to reduce costs by increasing automation and document tracking or is needed to increase revenue for a new product or service launch, then the requirements, budget and deployment implementation will be driven and impacted by such decisions.

If you’re role is of an IT project manager, will you be ready for such a major shift?

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