You get the IT department you pay for. Sorry but if you look in the mirror and don't like what you see, don't blame the mirror. If an IT department is lethargic, inefficient, not supporting the business, not supporting efforts beyond "keeping the lights on" - then business leadership has ceded control. Imagine if this was a finance group or marketing group or sales group - would ineffective performance be tolerated? Why is IT so "special" to the extent that it can run as a separate empire? While it is good sport to create the straw person of the evil IT department (it does make for good media articles), the reality in my opinion (based on my experience with clients) is that IT operates in a way that does not support the business only when business has yielded its ultimate power in terms of decision rights on how to direct and invest in IT. If IT groups are supporting applications and infrastructure systems that are not strategic - then why do those systems continue to receive funding from business units? Why do those systems continue to receive change requests for modifications and new enhancements? There is some business person who is requesting those investments and that request could be in conflict with the strategic desires of the enterprise at-large. Is it the responsibility of the IT organization to "just say no" to a business customer or is it up to the business overall to put in place the proper governance structure to "just say no" to that business unit's requests?
Bottom Line: IT organizations obtain direction, sponsorship and funding from business management. If business leaders are not happy with how their IT investments are being spent, they need to re-assert the control they always had, but perhaps let slip away. If business management wants to shut down certain systems - that is their prerogative, not the IT organization. It takes two to have business / IT alignment.
Do you need a traditional information technology department? That question was at the heart of a Gartner debate on the future of the IT departments.
At issue at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo: Is IT about keeping the lights or enabling a business? Do IT departments need to break up to better focus on innovating, processes and running infrastructure? My take: Blow up the IT department.
All of this business alignment–something IT hasn't achieved for 20 years despite talking about it nonstop–isn't fun. CIOs are often out of their league and would much rather be scouting new technologies. CIOs have become process jockeys when they should be cooking up new ideas.
Bottom line: The all-encompassing IT department could be nuked by 2012 and no one would know the difference.