Refer to IT Savvy regarding IT accountability and decision making. As a reply to this message, discuss who makes IT decisions in your organization? How are they held accountable? What would you change or do differently?
This is extremely challenging for me because I am not on the IT side of my organization, and I feel like IT decisions are extraordinarly opaque. I'm not sure if this is true for those working on the IT side of things, but having worked in a client facing role for 3 years and now in an operational capacity for a little over 6 months, in my experience there is a wide chasm separating the business and IT. The limited experience I have had working with IT it seems that different projects are handled by different teams, subject to different budgets and different timetables depending how those teams are assigned.
- IT principles: I have to imagine that IT principles are set by the CIO and other upper level management figures, as this would make the most sense. Sometimes it does seem that different groups follow different principles, but I suspect this is more related to cultural differences between the departments. Overall the entire firm seems to maintain the same basic principles, and this could only happen if handled at the top.
- Enterprise architecture: I think there has been a big shift in enterprise architecture since I have been with the firm. When I started I had to use roughly a dozen different applications to obtain information, and the majority of these did not integrate with each other. Over time one platform has become more and more developed as they try to consolidate the majority of tools into one application. Other applications have slowly changed over time to be more web based, faster and allow for better collaboration - some aspects of integration seem to have improved as well (notes actually transferring between systems, for example). It is also my understanding that many tools which started as 'quick fixes' in the form of macros have slowly been moving over to the mainframe; this allows for instantaneous updating and processing (instead of everything having to go through batch) and means that when tasks have substantial volume they can be completed much easier and with less manual intervention than before.
- IT infrastructure: I guess this would primarily refer to the mainframe architecture I mentioned previously.
- Business needs and project deliverables: It is very unclear how business needs are prioritized. Based on my limited experience, it seems that each business unit has its own budget and essentially 'hires' IT to complete a project. From what I have seen just in my current department, it is up to that business unit to prioritize their business needs to determine how to spend the budget, then work with IT to do the projects. If our team/department has 15 projects we would like to get done, it is our responsibility to prioritize this within our group and then make requests of IT - so if there is something that needs to be done because of regulatory requirements, it takes priority, and new projects can cause things that have been on the 'wishlist' for years to be deprioritized. I know there's an IT project the team has been trying to fund for at least 3 to 4 years, but it keeps getting pushed back due to more urgent needs.
- IT investment and prioritization: I think IT investment and prioritization happen on two levels. There are certain things that are specific to IT - new mainframe systems, the website for clients, back end processing - which are subject to an IT budget and IT management makes prioritization decisions and they use the budget specifically allocated to the IT department to fund these types of things. It seems like everything else is handled by what I mentioned in the previous paragraph - business units have budget that they can allocate to IT, the business prioritizes these investments and works with the IT folks who are assigned to them to create new tools, fix old ones, or upgrade systems. While there may be some benefits to this, it seems to me that this could result in certain departments not being able to accomplish goals that may have a positive impact on a wider basis than their department alone, and in other cases this may actually complicate IT as more and more departments are requesting and funding tools to be built that really only have a one off purpose and while they may make a task easier in the short run, guck up the works in the long term.