For years, IT departments have delivered powerful analytics solutions to all departments. Now, it's time for IT to consume comprehensive analytics as well.

When you step back and think about it, a corporate IT department is a business like any other. You have a budget allocation -- in this case, let’s say you have an $80 million IT budget. You have customers who rely on your products and services to do their business. You have assets that depreciate, investments to make and costs to manage. You have global operations with a talented workforce that needs to stay motivated, engaged and productive.

You have competitors, like AWS and other cloud-based applications, that business users are signing up for on their own. You also have a shifting market landscape, with trends like BYOD, that challenge you to adapt.

In short, IT executives are CEOs of the IT department — with the same pressures to maximize business performance. In fact, IDC predicts that in the next two years, more than 70 percent of CIOs will change their primary role from directly managing IT to become an innovation partner. 

Would a CEO Run an $80M Company on a Spreadsheet?

Not a chance — it’s like flying a plane with no controls — but that’s exactly what most IT executives are using, along with point analytics solutions available in various systems and applications. In most cases, IT executives can only see a small portion of their business. They lack the whole picture of how their assets, projects, finances, and services are being delivered and how they’re performing. Without that whole picture, it’s nearly impossible to identify new opportunities and innovative approaches that can give the larger business a competitive advantage.

All Major Departments Have an Analytics System of Record Except for IT

For years, IT departments have delivered powerful analytics solutions to various groups across the enterprise — marketing, finance, sales and HR, to name a few. IT execs have been so busy helping others that they forgot to look out for themselves, and now they face an increasingly daunting challenge.

It’s not from lack of wanting an analytics solution. Every IT exec dreams about the day when they can look at a single dashboard of real-time activities, projects, services, finances to flag issues and insights, assess risk, and identify key trends and insights. The challenge is that building this kind of system typically takes a year of development, millions of dollars and a massive data integration project. Only Fortune 100 companies can afford the luxury.

The IT “CEO” Cockpit Has Arrived and It’s in the Cloud

A few trends have come together to make that dream a real possibility. First, with the rise of powerful cloud-based IT applications, including those from ServiceNow and others, more companies are comfortable moving their operations to the cloud in an effort to standardize processes and reduce the need for customized solutions that are difficult and expensive to maintain. Second, analytic and computing technology — such as in-memory analytics and cheaper storage — has allowed larger amounts of data to be stored and analyzed more efficiently and cost-effectively.

So, for the first time, IT business analytics solutions — the IT “CEO” cockpit  from which an IT executive can navigate and command their organization— is within reach for all IT execs.

As solutions are introduced that take advantage of these trends, the question becomes, “Would you run your $80 million business on a spreadsheet?” As an IT leader, now you don’t have to.

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