Most can't make it happen
Justin James: To be perfectly honest, I can definitely argue either side of this. I do think that IT departments can be a great profit center!
But that said, I feel that most businesses lack the foresight and long-term vision to make that happen. When the focus of most businesses is to use computers as electronic file cabinets and adding machines, it is hard to treat IT as anything but a cost center, because it’s not adding much value to the business.
It is rare to find organizations who can leverage IT to unlock real value and profit, and as a result, most businesses must treat IT as a cost center, because that is what it is to them.
And it is their own fault for not being innovative or having the right mindset.
IT is the business
Dana Gardner: We’re at a rare crossroads where IT will redefine itself and elevate its role. The impact of IT on business is deep, pervasive, and growing. We literally can't separate IT and general business.
The better any company exploits technology, the better they are at their jobs, knowing customers, working with partners, capturing markets, growing profits. IT is being called on to transform business, and to do so IT must transform itself, too.
Rather than remove IT in favor of cloud or SaaS -- businesses must embrace a larger role of IT as services broker. IT must be a profit center, enabling new business functions and efficiencies, guiding the way to new markets and services.
Already a new class of strategic IT organization is emerging, one that uses cloud, mobile, mixed-sourcing, strategic souring, ecommerce as core components. By delivering business services better than competitors -– even partners -- the modern value chain flows to them. Via innovation, they take more share, more margin, more opportunity.
IT is the business. Therefore IT is the profit center.