An Agricultural Approach to Ensure IT Investments Produce Business Value
Organizations spend large sums on Information and Communications Technology but are often left in doubt as to the real returns on these investments. IT is seen as essential to transforming organizations but too often is accused of consuming funds without meeting expectations. As a CIO, are you in a position to:
- Have real and lasting alignment with the rest of the organization?
- Explain the value of IT investments from the perspective of the customer, shareholder, donor and/or taxpayer?
- Have demonstrable proof of IT’s contribution in metrics that make sense outside of the IT department?
- Engage the organization to make hard decisions?
- Eliminate the churn of constant plan and priority changes?
Dr. Gerald Grant of the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University and Rob Collins, former CIO of Cognos and the City of Ottawa, argue that instead of applying a rigid engineering approach, executives should think more like a farmer, taking an agricultural view that gives primacy to delivering the ‘harvest’: business value resulting from IT investments. By focusing on that harvest instead of only the schedule, organizations can ensure that they get the results that they need or that they can kill projects early before they have wasted precious resources. It also provides a basis to compare IT investments to non-technical investments.
This approach is not limited to new projects. This same Agricultural Model can be used to audit existing IT systems for business value. This can provide the basis for better management of those large IT budgets and create common ground between IT and the rest of the organization.